Elite: Dangerous Blog

News and events from the Elite Dangerous galaxy

Exploration and the Road to Riches

Following my beginners article on Community Goals, I thought I'd follow up with a non-combat path to credits within the Elite galaxy.

Tips for Beginners: The Road To Riches

What is "The Road to Riches"?

The road to riches is a method of obtaining large amounts of wealth and exploration rank, by following a preset list of star systems and planets, in order to scan them with the detailed surface scanner. The planets listed are mostly water-worlds and earth-like worlds; basically the highest value items to scan. The completed list is worth more than 300M credits.

What is exploration worth?

This info graphic shows what each planetary body is worth on the “honk” of the advanced discovery scanner, for a basic scan (where you fly close enough to the body to scan it) and a detailed surface scan. The detailed scans are worth the most credits. Exploration rank is based on the credit value of items scanned, so more money equals more rank.

large version

This info graphic has been widely published since May 2017 - Author unknown.

The exploration data is not dependent on you being the first to discover it (although that would pay out a lot more credits) so any CMDR can do this once, no matter who else boldly went before them.

Is there only one road?

No. The concept of exploration riches has been around a long time. It seems to have originated as a “fast money” exploration technique scanning neutron stars, one such article was posted by CMDR TG_Equilibrator on Reddit as early as August of 2015. At this point it was one of several suggested exploration money making methods, but the first published “Road” was on 4th June 2017 by CMDR VicTic/SchmicTic, who published an exploration route of 301 high-value planets in 241 systems that could be done in 2.5 hours and net around 280M credits! There are now tools and companion apps for the road and it has become a longer and more valuable route; some of these tools will even allow you to create your own custom road!

What ship do I need?

As long as your ship has an Advanced Discovery Scanner, a Fuel Scoop and an FSD range over 15ly, even a Sidewinder can do it. Ideally you would also want a a Detailed Surface Scanner as this will double your scan payouts. The Advanced Discover Scanner costs 1.5M CR, so there is a cost bar to entry in this process. A Sidewinder would cost (in total) around 1.7M CR, even without the Detailed Surface Scanner (1.98M with) so you will need some cash reserves to get started.

Will it take a long time?

It might because everybody plays at their own pace in their own style. Flight times in super-cruise vary, as some bodies are further away from the primary star, which means the time taken in some systems can be much longer. You could do the whole road in a matter of hours, or if you only have a few hours free in an evening like me and are not in a hurry, you might be at this for weeks. This is a get rich scheme, but not necessarily a get rich quick scheme.

Will the new exploration tools “break” the road?

No. While the “honk” will stay the same, the new exploration tools replace the detailed surface scanner. This will mean you can scan the planetary bodies from the arrival point at the primary star, meaning the process will involve less flight time in super-cruise, so faster money and less wear-and-tear on your ship. However, the new mechanic also adds surface probes which may actually add to the earning capacity of the road. We’ll see how much after the Q4 update drops.

What were those tools again?

Path finder: https://www.alpha-orbital.com/pathfinder
Road 2 Riches: https://www.spansh.co.uk/riches
Road to Riches: http://edtools.ddns.net/expl.php

With these tools a second monitor (or maybe a tablet if you're on a console) is really useful.

Ship Personalisation

It’s been a while since I wrote my article on outfitting your ship. While the majority of the detail holds true, it is missing anything about ships skins or decals and a lot of recently added personalisation features.

There are now a number of things you can do to customise your ship to change its weapon and engine colours, exterior appearance, interior decor and even the ships Cockpit Voice Activated System (COVAS).

Another element that can be personalised for players with Horizons is the Holo-Me. This sets your in-cockpit player model and avatar that's visible to other players.

Note: Most of the cosmetic items in Elite: Dangerous are purchased DLC. In order to keep the game a level playing field and avoid any chance of “pay to win” Frontier chose to make all their DLC cosmetic and therefore have zero effect on the game-play.

It neither makes you better or tougher, it’s just darn sexy to look at.

But, unless you’ve bought one of the Editions of Elite that included decals and paint packs, then most of the items in this article would need to be purchased in the Frontier Store or whatever purchase vehicle is used for your platform, before you can use them.

You can live a happy life in the Elite: Dangerous universe without ever buying a single cosmetic. But if you have some pennies spare and want to pimp your ride, then read on...


Ship customisation is done through the Livery option on either the Station Services menu or the Livery option in the Ship Outfitting screen. Both choices take you to a “select vehicle menu” this will be for your main ship and up to two ship launched fighters and two Surface Recon Vehicles (as both can have a double bay).

Picking the primary ship will take you to a menu which allows you to view and choose a number of items, the first being the ships’ voice.

Vessel Voice (two free)

There are three ships voices which are available currently in Elite, “Verity” (the original female ship voice) and “Victor” both of which are free. The third is a female voice called “Celeste” which must be purchased. These can be selected for ships, fighters and SRVs. It’s quite nice to jump between a ship and the fighter with a difference computer voice.

These can be bought once and applied to all your ships.

Paint Job

When you buy your ship, even the free Sidewinder, it is possible to change it’s appearance to use a new ship exterior paint, so all those “ship in front of..” screenshots look all the more special.

All the paints available can be previewed, but only those you own can be selected. Your currently selected paint job is indicated with a tick.

A word of caution - only buy paint jobs for ships you plan to use a lot or hold on to for a while.

 These can only be applied to one ship.

Ship Name (free)

Ship name can be set and will be visible to other players that scan you as well as being shown in the Ship panel. The first three letters or numbers can be used as your callsign.

Each time you choose to set the name, a dialogue box opens blank, so you have to re-enter the name; it can’t be edited.

Ship ID (free)

The ship ID is a six-character alpha-numeric tag for your ship. It can be displayed on the hull with a purchased decal or used as your callsign by traffic control.

To set your name, ship name or ship ID as call sign, go to Options for Audio settings and choose which to use.

Name Plate 1 & 2

The name plates are decals which can be purchased that will display your chosen ship name on the outer hull. This is visible to you in the external camera and to other players that see your ship. These decals (unlike paint jobs) are usable on ALL your ships, so any nameplate purchased can be used for all of your fleet.

These can be bought once and applied to all your ships.

Ship ID 1 & 2

You can choose to have your ship ID displayed on the hull using a purchased ID plate.

Currently there's only one ID plate in the Frontier store, so choice is limited.

These can be bought once and applied to all your ships.

Front, Right & Left Decal

These allow decals to be applied over your paint job on the front, left & right of the ships hull. There are a number of community decals that are given away free and you unlock rank decals for combat, exploration and trade as you progress, which are also free. Any other decals must be purchased from the store, on their own or as part of a ship paint job (for example "Onionhead" which comes with skins & decals).

Currently the "Powerplay" decal pack (seen below) is free in the store.

These can be bought once and applied to all your ships.

Spoiler, Wings, Tail & Bumper – The Ship Kit

Ship kits are a purchased cosmetic and come in the form of four elements that can be added to the ship. Each kit contains four variants of each element, so you can have 16 different applications of each kit. Not all ships have ship kits available. So far there are two types. The wings & bumpers kits which allow you to give that "boy racer" look to your ship. The second kind is the "Raider" kits, which also have four elements, but these consist of spikes and wire and are accompanied by four rusty and corroded paint jobs, the applied effect of which is a "Max Max" look to your ship (or "Reaver" if you're a FireFly fan). Still no skeletons on the spikes though...
Once purchased the elements of the kit can be applied to the Spoiler, Wings, Tail and Bumper sections (where the kit contains these).

It tends to change the profile of your ship making it less "factory bought" in appearance. The bolt-on wings and spoilers do not change your "hit box" (the area where weaponry hits are detected on your ship) so these additions do not make you a bigger target.

These can only be applied to one ship.

Weapon Detailing

Whether you're Mace Windu, Darth Vader or Yoda, everyone knows the colour of your light sabre and with weapon detailing you can pick your colour (for a price).

There is a downside to this. While your lasers and bullets will now all flash green (or whatever colour you chose) they can only be set to one colour across the board. No red lasers with green rails and blue plasma! Also, where beforehand your Engineering special effects changed some weapon colours green or red and your point defence ammo was white, now everything will be green. Mono-colour once chosen.

Maybe at some point in the future Frontier will allow per hard-point colours, but for now it's "one shade fits all".

These can be bought once and applied to all your ships.

Engine Detailing

Engine colour is another purchased cosmetic that will change the colour of your thrusters and engines. It also colours your engine vapour trail - which is far more noticeable than normal.

Obviously all the cool kids co-ordinate their paint jobs with lasers and engines to create a distinct look!

These can be bought once and applied to all your ships.

Dashboard 1-10

Your ships dashboard can be covered in bobble-heads. These can be purchased and added to the ten available "dashboard" slots. I purchased the alphabet bobble-head kit back before ship name plates were in the game and put my ship names on the dash. This is something I still do now.

What do they do? They wobble about on your cockpit dashboard and nod along while you talk to them in the grip of space-madness! Also, they react to g-forces when your ship accelerates, pitches, rolls and jumps to super-cruise.

These can be bought once and applied to all your ships.

String Lights

A recent addition at Christmas 2017, the string lights are a set of fairy lights draped on the cockpit of your ship. The coloured "Christmas" version was a seasonal item, but the plain white string lights are still available.

These can be bought once and applied to all your ships.

Surface Recon Vehicles and Ship Launcher Fighters

The other vehicles from the livery menu offer a smaller subset of customisation options, so you can bling your SRV or colour co-ordinate your ship launched fighter with your main ship.

Holo Me

The Holo-Me is accessed from the Ship Panel and allows you to design your commander's appearance. I'm not going to do a full-blown Holo-Me tutorial here as I'm not very good at it. Mine looks like "Mr Potato Head", so as you can see you can achieve a pretty lifelike facsimile.

The Holo-Me is accessed from the ship panel.

It takes you into the Holo-Me editor. There are seven sections for the customisation of your avatar. Body, Complexion, Hair, Face, Head, Accessories & Cosmetics. The Body suits & outfits are DLC and the Accessories and Cosmetics are also DLC, but the other options are native with Horizons and free.

Since it's release in version 2.3 the editor has been updated and now allows you to save multiple avatars and clone existing avatars, so you can experiment with your current Holo-Me without losing the original.

When you've made your Holo-Me the game takes a "passport photo" of it, which is used as an avatar when other commanders scan your ship. The Holo-Me is also used when you join another commander in multi-crew, so your commander appears on their ship as your avatar design.

Tips for Beginners: Engineering 3.0

Engineering has changed. Quite a bit. For players who’ve done ship engineering it’s a matter of personal opinion if the new process is better or worse. We’ve swapped random results, where getting the best outcome (a god roll) was in the hands of R.N.Gesus unless you were prepared to take 1,000 stabs at it; now instead the results are consistent, but every module must be engineered from Grade 1 to Grade 5 and as a result more materials are required.

For players who’ve not engineered their ships, this is all new. Assuming you’re the latter or a former who’d like an explanation, this is how it works.

Who are the Engineers?

They are a collection of Non Player Characters (NPCs) with their own planetary bases at remote locations. I've included a full list at the bottom of this article.

Elira Martuuk, Felicity Farseer, Liz Ryder, The Dweller & Todd "The Blaster" McQuinn are all visible to start with but the rest require a referral – usually from another Engineer - and will ask for some kind of “sweetener” in the form of goods or information before they will start working for you.

To see the engineers and find out if you've unlocked any already, go to the Ship Panel and on the Status TAB select the hexagon Engineer icon.

This will open the list of known Engineers. This list can be sorted by distance or engineer access - the level of upgrade you've reached with that engineer. Selecting an engineer will display information about them including their biography, location and how to gain their services.

What do they do?

They modify ships modules to make a variety of improvements. Each Engineer has a specialty and whether that is Frame Shift Drives or Multi-cannons, they will apply changes to modules ranging from Grade 1 improvements up to Grade 5. They will also (for a price) apply a selection of “special effects” to these modifications.

In the old engineering, these effects were rare AND random, but now can be selected by the player in exchange for raw materials and data.

Which takes us to the new “currency” in Elite…


These are packets of data, manufactured items and raw elements that can be obtained by mining, surface prospecting in an SRV, collecting debris from combat or Unknown Signal Sources and by scanning ships and ships’ wakes.
Some of these activities such as mining or wake scanning require special equipment, or the SRV, the rest can be done in any ship, at any time.

To see what materials you have, view the Ship Panel on the right-hand side and on the Inventory TAB select the Materials and Data sections. You will see the name and quantity of each item and on the far right, an icon indicates the material grade.

Materials Data Filter materials view Material information

Click on the slides above to expand them.

The materials lists can be filtered to only show particular grades, or items required for pinned blueprints (more on that later) and selecting an item will display an information panel that tells you what the material is used for and more importantly, where to find it!

The excellent Inara website has a full list of materials here. https://inara.cz/galaxy-components/

Material grades are 1 being the most common to 5 being rare. The higher grade of engineer modifications generally requires higher quantities as well as higher grade materials – the better the modification, the more costly they are in materials.

Why would you want to get your ship engineered?

It’s a lot of effort to chase down the specific materials for a desired module upgrade. Forcing you to grind away at repetitive tasks if you are time-poor, assuming you don’t want to just wait until you acquire the necessary materials over time. So why do it?

The engineers can (to paraphrase the Lave Radio advert) make your frame shift go further, your lasers more powerful and your gas tank really big.

You can with engineering, make your ship more specialised to the task you want and do it better than you ever could with off-the-shelf parts.

For example, my exploration Anaconda has a modified FSD drive that jumps further, a lower class (size) of Power plant and Distributor than the Anaconda should use, both modified to have better output, so they are usable but of much lower mass. My ship’s armour is lightweight, as is the life support, and the shields are reinforced to make up for being undersized (and again lower mass). This means my Anaconda jumps 56Ly with an SRV and Fighter Bay fitted.

My Corvette on the other hand has upgraded armour, shields and hull all with increased resistances. The weapons all fire more efficiently, longer or faster (respectively) and have special effects that make the bullets aid target-lock, pass through shields or recharge my wing-mates shields. These are all engineered modifications.

Modding the module and engineering the engines

Having learned about an engineer, met their entry requirements and handed over the sweetener of the initial contract, you can now go to their base and turn phosphorous into FrameShift Drive upgrades!

At the engineers base, you select "Engineers Workshop" from the station services menu. You will then see a list of "blueprints" for modifications you can make to the ship you currently have docked. If you select "browse all" you can look at everything the engineer can do and potentially pin one of those blueprints for later.

Assuming you want to go ahead and engineer the ship you have, pick a module type. You are then asked to select which module on your ship to apply the engineered modification. Obviously if it is a power plant, there's only one, but if you're upgrading weapons there could be up to eight multi-cannons to choose from.


Once you've picked the module (in my case sensors) and picked the type of modification to make (long range), you can generate the modification.

Each time you press the generate button, the modification improves and materials are consumed. At certain points, the current Grade is completed and you move up to the next one. You'll either max out the module to Grade 5 or more likely, run out of materials. The details of the pros and cons of the blueprint are displayed. In this case, I have sacrificed 30% scanning angle and a few tons of mass in order to get my sensors to a range of 12km (13km being the maximum achievable).

Each engineer modification is different, but the actions and the principles are the same.

Blueprints, pins and the Remote Workshop

Each engineer will carry out a number of their specialty modifications and each type of modification is referred to as a "blueprint". You can choose to "pin" one of these blueprints per engineer. You can only pin engineering blueprints when at the respective engineers planet base.

This is a very useful feature in Engineering 3.0 for two reasons. Firstly the new materials panel will now filter to just items needed for pinned blueprints. This helps you separate the items you do and don't have from those you really need. Sadly this filter doesn't seem to apply to encoded data materials.
Secondly and a huge bonus for 3.0 is that once a blueprint has been pinned, you can engineer ships modules using the pinned blueprint at any station! This is done from the "Remote Workshop" menu on the Station Services page.

There are two three limitations to this new feature;

  1. You cannot get any special effects applied to modules at the Remote Workshop - these can only be obtained at the original engineer base.
  2. The second limitation (which will be short lived) is that existing (pre 3.0) modifications made to modules cannot be altered using the remote workshop. You have to take these "grandfathered" modules to an engineer to be changes to 3.0 blueprints. This will drop them down a grade (5 becomes a new 4).
  3. Any upgrades you carry out in the Remote Workshop do not count towards your reputation with the engineer - their access level. Thanks to CMDRs icarusbird & lyonhaert on Reddit for pointing this out.

The major advantage of this new feature is convenience. You can (after a tour of your unlocked engineers) pin a wide selection of the most commonly used engineering modifications, then take a new vanilla ship and engineer the heck out of it from the comfort of your "home" station without the ship ever leaving it's berth once. Very handy getting engineering done to those combat ships with low jump ranges, which would be a pain to get around all the highly remote engineer planet bases.

Time and Materials

Collecting materials for engineering is time-intensive and has always been an in-game activity that divides opinion; on whether it is fun, or drudgery.

With the new version 3.0 Engineers we’ve got an alternative to slaving away on a planet looking for that elusive rock with polonium or arsenic - the materials traders.

They can be located on the Galaxy Map Services filter, by selecting the star-filter TAB, choosing the map option and selecting the "services" filter. You can then chose the type of service you want to see - in this case, Materials Traders.

Once at the station select Contacts from Station Services and then pick Material Trader.

The materials trader will swap one type of material for another, at a premium. Higher grade materials swap for multiples of lower grades materials and vice versa. You can only swap the same types of material. You cannot swap data for elements or manufactured materials for data.


Also, each type of material is in a category (such as Crystals, Alloys, Composite etc.) and swapping between categories comes at a greater premium. So you would need to swap 6 Grade 1 materials for 1 Grade 2 item, but 1 Grade 5 item would get you 81 Grade 1 items of the same category. Below are some example material "exchange rates".

For materials in the same category
For materials in a different category

Target the grade 5 materials

With the Materials Traders it is possible to get all the lower grade materials you need, with a few of the Grade 5 items you’ve collected, by trading down. Collecting Grade 5 materials should, where possible, be your priority.

Another new feature of Engineering 3.0 is the new quantity limits on each material. Where before we could only store 1,000 materials in total, now we can collect 300 of each Grade 1 material, 250 of Grade 2, 200 of Grade 3, 150 of Grade 4 and 100 of Grade 5. This means you no longer have to pick and choose what to keep hold of, but can horde materials across the board. Gone are the days where you suddenly find you need four of the material you just jettisoned.

Unlocking the Engineers 3.0

Here's a full list of the Engineers, with their locations and what modules they modify. With tips on how to gain access and their initial contract requirements.

CMDR lyonhaert on Reddithas pointed out that for the engineers that require exploration data, you could accumulate this data first, before making the visit to those engineers, thereby raising your access to grade 5 much faster on arrival. Don't overdue it though; they don't need that much to get you to grade 5 and the data can be used for other engineers to unlock them. And don't sell them the data until you've completed the initial contract! Spoon feed them the exporlation data, then check what your access level is. 100K CR of data will get you from grade 1 to grade 2. Sometimes the change only shows after logging out and in again.

Bill Turner

Alioth   Alioth 4 A   Turner Metallics Inc
Learn about: reach level 3 and 33% reputation with Selene Jean.
Gain access: Become Friendly with Alliance and Allied with Allioth.
Initial contract: 50T of Bromellite.
Modules max. grade + type: Plasma Accelerator , Sensors , Detailed Surface Scanner , Life Support , Refinery , Auto Field-Maintenance Unit , Fuel Scoop , Frame Shift Wake Scanner , Kill Warrant Scanner , Manifest Scanner
Short-cut to reputation: None.

Note: The Alioth system needs a system permit. If you trade with 78 Ursae Majoris (2Lyr away from Alioth) you can work to become allied with Alioth Independents, who will then offer you the system permit.

Broo Tarquin

Muang  Muang 5A Broo's legacy
Learn about: reach level 3 and 33% reputation with Hera Tani.
Gain access: when you reach Competent or higher combat rank.
Initial contract: 50T of Fujin Tea - obtain this from Futen Spaceport at Fujin.
Modules max. grade + type: Burst Laser , Pulse Laser , Beam Laser
Short-cut to reputation: none.

Colonel Bris Dekker

Sol Iaptus Dekker's yard
Learn about: reach level 3 and 33% reputation with Juri Ishmaak.
Gain access: reach Friendly status with the Federation.
Initial contract: 10,000,000CR of Combat Bonds (double-ouch!).
Modules max. grade + type: Frame Shift Drive Interdictor , Frame Shift Drive
Short-cut to reputation: none.

NOTE: Sol is a permit-only system so you will also need to earn a Sol permit by doing missions for the Federation and attaining the rank of Petty Officer (rank 4) in the Federal Navy.

Didi Vatermann

Leesti Leesti 3A Vatermann LLC
Learn about: reach level 3 and 33% reputation with Selene Jean.
Gain access: reach the rank of Merchant or higher.
Initial contract: 50T of Lavian Brandy - this is a rare commodity purchased at Lave Station in Lave, but can only be bought in volumes of 3-6T, so you'll have to make multiple trips.
Modules max. grade + type: Shield Booster , Shield Generator
Short-cut to reputation: Sell goods at Vatermann LLC station.

Elvria Martuuk

Khun Khun 5 Long sight base
Learn about: revealed by default.
Gain access: travel at least 300lyr away from your start system.
Initial contract: 3T of Sooltil relics - obtain from Soontil at Cheranovsky City station in Ngurii.
Modules max. grade + type: Frame Shift Drive , Shield Generator , Thrusters , Shield Cell Bank
Short-cut to reputation: Sell her exploration data.

Felicity Farseer

Deciat Deciat 6A Farsee Inc
Learn about: revealed by default.
Gain access: reach the rank of Scout in Exploration.
Initial contract: 1T of Meta-Alloys - obtain from Darnielle's Progress planetary base in Maia.
Modules max. grade + type: Frame Shift Drive , Thrusters , Sensors , Detailed Surface Scanner , Shield Booster , Frame Shift Drive Interdictor , Power Plant
Short-cut to reputation: Sell her exploration data.

NOTE: Farseer Inc also sells Enhanced Performance Thrusters at the station outfitting. These can be bought regardless of the Engineer unlock state. EPT's come in Class 2A and Class 3A only.

Hera Tani

Kuwemaki  Kuwemaki A 3A The jet's hole
Learn about: reach level 3 and 33% reputation with Liz Ryder.
Gain access: reach an Imperial Navy rank of Outsider or higher.
Initial contract: 50T of Kamitra Cigars - obtain these at Hammel Terminal in Kamitra.
Modules max. grade + type: Power Plant , Detailed Surface Scanner , Sensors , Power Distributor
Short-cut to reputation: Sell goods at The Jet's Hole station.

Juri Ishmaak

Giryak Giryak 2A Pater's memorial
Learn about: reach level 3 and 33% reputation with Felicity Farseer.
Gain access: when you have earned more than fifty combat bonds.
Initial contract: 1,000,000CR of combat bonds (ouch!).
Modules max. grade + type: Mine Launcher , Sensors , Detailed Surface Scanner , Torpedo Pylon , Missile Rack , Frame Shift Wake Scanner , Kill Warrant Scanner , Manifest Scanner
Short-cut to reputation: Handing in combat bonds at Pater's Memorial station.

Lei Cheung

Laksak Laksak A1 Trader's rest
Learn about: reach level 3 and 33% reputation with The Dweller.
Gain access: when you have bought or sold goods at fifty different stations.
Initial contract: 200T of gold, which can be bought in system from Laumer City or West City stations.
Modules max. grade + type: Shield Generator , Sensors , Detailed Surface Scanner , Shield Booster
Short-cut to reputation: Sell goods at Trader's Rest station.

Liz Ryder

Eurybia  Makalu Demolition unlimited
Learn about: revealed by default.
Gain access:
take missions for or trade with Eurybia Blue Mafia in the Eurybia system until you reach a Cordial state with the faction.
Initial contract: 200T of Landmines, which can only be bought at planet bases (such as Leonov Depot in Alpha Caeli, Eckford Survey in LHS 1651 or Dedekind Bastion in Njojujil).
Modules max. grade + type: Missile Rack , Torpedo Pylon , Mine Launcher , Hull Reinforcement Package , Armour
Short-cut to reputation: Sell goods at Demolition Unlimited base.

Lori Jameson

Shinrarta Dezhra   Shinrarta Dezhra A 1   Jameson Base
Learn about: reach level 3 and 33% reputation with Marco Qwent.
Gain access: Gain combat rank Dangerous or higher.
Initial contract: 25 units of Kongga Ale.
Modules max. grade + type: Sensors , Detailed Surface Scanner , Refinery , Fuel Scoop , Auto Field-Maintenance Unit , Life Support , Frame Shift Wake Scanner , Kill Warrant Scanner , Manifest Scanner , Shield Cell Bank
Short-cut to reputation: Sell exploration data at Jameson Base.

NOTE: Shinrarta Dezhra requires a founders world as it is a permit-only star system so you will only be able to obtain this by reaching at least one Elite rank.

Marco Qwent

Sirius Lucifer Qwent research base
Learn about: reach level 3 and 33% with Elvira Martuuk.
Gain access: by invitation from Sirius Corporation - this is obtained by taking mission for the faction at Sirius until you reach Allied status with Sirius Corporation.
Initial contract: 25T of Modular Terminals - obtain these from missions for Sirius Corporation at Efremov Plant planetary base, close to Qwent Research base.
Modules max. grade + type: Power Plant , Power Distributor
Short-cut to reputation: Sell goods at Qwent Research Base.

NOTE: The Sirius system is a permit-only system and can only be accessed by completing missions for Sirius Corporation until you reach Allied status with the faction. Procyon is a system where your can find Sirius Corporation missions.

Professor Palin

Maia  Maia A 3A Palin research centre
Learn about: reach level 3 at 33% reputation with Marco Qwent.
Gain access: when you have visited a system at least 5,000Lyr from your original start system.
Initial contract: 25T of Unknown Fragments - these are found by visiting HIP 14479 and looking for Signal Sources called "Anomaly Detected [Threat 4]". In these you will find an Unknown Artifact floating in space. You need to carefully shoot this object so it shatters and collect the fragments. Each bit you collect contains 3 Unknown Fragments.
Modules max. grade + type: Thrusters , Frame Shift Drive
Short-cut to reputation: Sell him exploration data.

Ram Tah

Meene  Meene AB 5 D  Phoenix Base
Learn about: reach level 3 and 33% reputation with Lei Cheung.
Gain access: Gain exploration rank Surveyor or higher.
Initial contract: 50 units of Classified Scan Databanks.
Modules max. grade + type: Electronic Countermeasure , Point Defence , Heat Sink Launcher , Chaff Launcher , Collector Limpet Controller , Fuel Transfer Limpet Controller , Prospector Limpet Controller , Hatch Breaker Limpet Controller
Short-cut to reputation: Sell exploration data at Phoenix Base.

Selene Jean

Kuk Kuk 3B Prospector's rest
Learn about: reach level 3 and 33% with Tod McQuinn.
Gain access: when you have mined 500T or more.
Initial contract: 10T of Painite - this can only be obtain from mining.
Modules max. grade + type: Hull Reinforcement Package , Armour
Short-cut to reputation: Sell her exploration data and sell goods at Prospector's Rest station.

The Dweller

Wyrd  Wyrd A2 Black hide
Learn about: revealed by default.
Gain access: You must do business at at least five black markets before he will see you.
Initial contract: 500,000 CR donation.
Modules max. grade + type: Power Distributor , Pulse Laser , Burst Laser , Beam Laser
Short-cut to reputation: Sell goods at Black hide base.

The Sarge

Beta-3 Tucani   Beta-3 Tucani   The Beach
Learn about: reach level 3 and 33% reputation with Juri Ishmaak.
Gain access: Gain rank Midshipman or higher with the Federal Navy.
Initial contract: 50 units of Aberrant Shield Pattern Analysis.
Modules max. grade + type: Collector Limpet Controller , Fuel Transfer Limpet Controller , Hatch Breaker Limpet Controller , Prospector Limpet Controller , Cannon , Rail Gun
Short-cut to reputation: Sell exploration data and hand in bounty vouchers to The Beach.

Tiana Fortune

Achenar   Achenar 4A   Fortune's Loss
Learn about: reach level 3 and 33% reputation with Hera Tani.
Gain access: Become Friendly with the Empire.
Initial contract: 50 units of Decoded Emission Data. 
Modules max. grade + type: Frame Shift Wake Scanner , Kill Warrant Scanner , Manifest Scanner , Collector Limpet Controller , Fuel Transfer Limpet Controller , Hatch Breaker Limpet Controller , Prospector Limpet Controller , Sensors , Frame Shift Drive Interdictor , Detailed Surface Scanner
Short-cut to reputation: Sell commodities to Fortune's Loss.

Note: Achenar is another permit-locked system. To gain the access, you must reach the rank of Squire in the Imperial Navy, which comes with the Achenar permit.

Tod "The Blaster" McQuinn

Wolf 397 Trus Madi Trophy camp
Learn about: revealed by default.
Gain access: hand in fifteen or more bounties.
Initial contract: Bring him 100,000CR worth of bounty.
Modules max. grade + type: Multi-cannon , Rail Gun , Fragment Cannon , Cannon
Short-cut to reputation: Hand in bounty for Alliance systems at Trophy Camp station.

Zachariah Nemo

Yoru  Yoru 4 Nemo cyber party base
Learn about: reach level 3 and 33% reputation with Elivira Martuuk.
Gain access: You must then do missions for Party of Yoru in the Yoru system. Once allied with the faction, you will receive an invitation to the Engineer.
Initial contract: Zachariah requires a donation of 25T of Xihe Biomorphic Companions - get these from Xihe at Zhen Dock.
Modules max. grade + type: Fragment Cannon , Multi-cannon , Plasma Accelerator
Short-cut to reputation: Sell goods at Nemo Cyber Party base.

Tips for Beginners: CMDR Ranualf’s Guardian Guide

CMDR Ranualf is a respected member of the Mobius PvE group and a long-time player of Elite: Dangerous. He has kindly authored this guide to unlocking the secrets of The Guardians. You can download a PDF version of the guide here. Ranualf's Guardian guide.pdf (1.00 mb)


Greeting commanders.

By now you will have noticed that the tech brokers have some new guardian items to unlock, but just how do you unlock them? Well I have the answer.

It is not just as simple as flying to the tech broker and saying, “bro, gimmie dat!” No, FD wants us to work for it and this is going to involve quite a bit of time in the SRV because it is mostly planeside gathering of items, materials & minerals, and yes it will take several hours of material gathering, shooting rocks and guardian blasting for their bits.

The basics of the journey is that you will need two items that match an obelisk in order to unlock it, as without the correct combination of items, it will remain locked. The picture below is the one I used, there are many other sites, but I used this one, as it is pretty central to the new Ram Tah guardian structures in the Col sector.

So, let’s get rolling shall we, start by looking at the picture below and thinking of which obelisk you would pick to scan, take your time, drink your tea and build your planet explorer.
Ship wise, a small or medium ship with good jump range is recommended because the new sites are 800+ LY out of the bubble and in rough terrain. I recommend at least 2+ SRV’s and a minimum of two tons of cargo. So, a DBS, DBX or an Asp will do perfectly. This is a basic rundown of the Asp I used, and I am glad I took extra SRV’s because you can easily get stuck and then killed by the
guardian sentinels.

Additional notes

Having several refuel, rearm and repair materials for your SRV is highly recommended, because once you are out there, it’s a long way back for a rearm at a station.

A simple Asp Explorer build for you here.

Guide to unlock the new Guardian items

If you have seen or even heard the new Galnet news, Ram Tah has been asking for “stuff” and he even made it into a FD video. Here are the new sites in the news, and yes there are many more sites, and thanks to FD, if you get within 1000LS of a site, it will pop up in your navigation panel now, nice of them to make it easier to find them.

New Ram Tah Guardian Ruins Locations

  • Col 173 Sector QU-O d6-25 5 B
  • HD 63154 B 3 A
  • Synuefe EU-Q c21-10

I assume you have built your planeside explorer and are ready to go, just head off to Synuefe TP-f B44-0 CD 1 or one of the guardian’s other structures and you will need collect the two items that are required to open the obelisk for the scan. Note that I say guardian structure, not ancient ruins, as new structures offer easy access to the items that you will need. Yes, the ruins have some of the items, but they are very large and the items are scattered all over. The guardian structures are much quicker and are a lot smaller.

Once you are at a guardian structure site, hop into the SRV and drive about for a while until you one of the items needed, it will be on the ground pick it up, and stick it in the ship. Now log out and repeat it, because you need two items, and having them on the ship is easier than losing them by getting killed…

These are the items you choose to pick up from the ground & what they look like

Remember that RNG is a factor here, because the items on the ground are random, so you may need to change your initial plan, depending on what you find first. The items that you can find on the ground are Casket, Orb, Urn, Totem, Tablet and these items match the picture and have been shortened to Ca, Or, Ur, To, Ta.

Note, the new sites have guardian sentinels, and they are aggressive! Kill them and loot their bodies, I would recommend that you stay and harvest all the available materials from the destructible panels and guardian sentinels or grab the two items and leave for the data scan site. Note you will need a lot of materials, so you may need to come back to farm materials.

Your new best friend

Once you have the two items such as totem & totem, Orb + totem, etc head to the ancient ruin site @ coordinates 31.96, -99.97 in the picture, be aware there are 3 ancient ruin sites on the planet, so pay attention to your heading once you get into sub orbital. Once you have arrived at the one in the picture, you will be able to unlock the Obelisk with the two items you have picked up, in order to scan it and get the data; this is the most important step.

Without the correct combination of items, the scan WILL NOT WORK. I personally used the 9 toto point (far left in the picture) to do all my scans as this just needed 2 totems, which you can easily pick up off the nearby guardian structure on the other side of the planet.

Now go find the Obelisk that matches the combination of items that YOU picked up and then simply scan the obelisk, and this will give you some data. You will need to conduct many scans in order to get the data required for the weapons and power plant. This means that you have to logout to the main menu, log back in and do another scan, log out, and back in…keep doing this and you should get most of the data needed in about 45 mins to an hour. Keep at it, as this is the fast method!

You will now need material components in order to fulfil the requirements for the tech broker.

Use INARA to make your shopping list of the items you need. Now head off to any guardian structure (where you first collected the 2 items) and kill anything that moves or glows blue. Hoover up all the materials (you made the shopping list, right?), shoot the destructible panels on the spires and tops of the arches and walls, kill them all! Remember to grab a few extra for there are plans ahead….  

Next you will need the raw material components, which means more time in the SRV and you will need to locate Manganese (30) & Chromium (28) use EDDB to find them or if you have several highgrade materials you can head off to the material broker and trade down for the items. Note that they are grade 2, so it is not going to be cheap.

Once again INARA has a perfect solution to our closest material trader needs!

Lastly you are going to need 10 magnetic emitter coils (buy from here ) and 12 micro weave cooling hoses, and these are mission rewards only.  

I found one of the best places to find a mission for the hoses is Shinrarta Dezhra, as it is a Hi-tech system and with a decent population. Make sure you check both the mission board & the passenger lounge to locate a mission. Remember if it is a passenger mission, you will need a passenger module on your ship.

Additional note, if you do not see a mission you can to flip the board (log out and back in) and you can filter the reward on the right side of the mission, under the text description of the mission now, to help speed up the search. After completing all the above steps, you can now go and see the tech broker and say “Yo, bro, gimmie dat ting!”


Additionally, I have been to the two new Ram Tah guardian structure sites and have solved new puzzle locations there. Here are the tower location & pictures that have been highlighted to show where the towers are. All the of the new guardian structure sites that I have been to so far (8) are located on top of a hill, or stuck in very rough high ground. Which makes landing in a large ship virtually impossible, I suspect that FD are working with the guardians to troll us, as the missiles from the guardian sentinels can easily launch you up into the air and get you rolling down the hill, that coupled with the fact the AI hides up and down the hill… Sneaky bastards.

The puzzle solve is quite easy, all you have to do is to find the control pillars and activate them and then activate the “control box”.

The best way is to drive up to the control box and the two towers will push out of the ground, this will let you activate the rest. If you do not go to the box first, the rest of the pillars will not push up and thus you will just be driving about. You can then drive about and push the rest of the pillars up, and then start to activate them. To do this, you need to shoot the “light” until you get the message that the pillar is charged. This will start the timer countdown, so you don’t have all day cupcake.  The sequence I used started with the bottom left, then middle, far left, far right and then the 2 at the console. Note, several sentinels will activate once you start this process.

After you have done all six pillars, you will need an ancient relic (the blue thing from the top of a pillar), simply shoot it down and then pick it up. Head back to the console and there will be a blue mark on the floor (go external camera and you will see it better) X marks the spot. Drive onto it, and eject it out of the SRV, this will activate the console, and the orb will pop up.

Go into turret more and scan the orb, with will give either a weapon blueprint or a module blueprint, depending upon which location you are at.

See Obsidian Ant’s video for a full drive through.

System HD 63554 planet B 3 A

This puzzle hands out Weapon blueprints. Just land at the right side of the pic (loads of room) and drive up the hill. 


System SYNEFE EU-Q C21-10 planet A 3

This site hands out module blueprints 

It is a real pain to land here, even in a small or medium ship as it is on the top of a very large hill. I managed to landed my DBX as the bottom of the picture, just south of the arch.  Please note that Large ships are very hard to land, due to the terrain and will end up parked over 10k+ away!

Fly safe and get the new guardian stuff

CMDR Ranualf.

I have some news

Sneak peek – SPOILER ALERT!

Ed [Edward Lewis at Frontier] let something drop as the Frontier Expo last year and several commanders have confirmed that he said this, and was hushed up quietly. It has now resurfaced… We are going to get more guardian modules for our ships, these include:

  • Guardian power plants
  • Guardian power distributors
  • Guardian hull reinforcement packages
  • Guardian module reinforcement packages
  • Guardian shield reinforcement packages
  • Guardian Frameshift Drive boosters

For more information on this click here
o7 CMDRs
For a more detailed Ancient ruins guide (old Ram Tah guide) go to CMDR Nicou's remlok-inustries.fr site here.

Tips for Beginners: How to scan a Thargoid (and survive)


Doing the strangest thing, loving the alien

Want to scan a Thargoid, but don't want to end up dead? Here's how...

This only applies to players with Horizons.

Lock and load...

First you need to purchase a Xeno scanner from station outfitting and ESSENTIALLY purchase a heat-sink launcher and fit them to your ship. If you cannot find these in the station you are at, use the EDDB.io website to locate a station near you that has them in stock (put "xeno scanner" in the "Station sells" box and then put your current location in the "Reference system" box). You are then set for a close encounter of the non-fatal kind. You'll be making a long trip, so consider fitting a fuel scoop if you don't already have one.

Remember to assign the Heat Sink launcher and Xeno Scanner to a fire group.

Finding Thargoids

Currently in the game the best place to find Thargoids is in the Pleiades sector, which means a trip of 150-200ly from the main bubble (depending where you start). Look on the Galaxy Map for the damaged stations and stations under repair. These systems have the Thargoids in their vicinity. Plot a route to one of these systems and get jumping.

I've arrived! What now?

Fly around the system in super-cruise and look for Unknown Signal Sources. You want to find a Non-Human Signal Source - Threat level 5 is a Cyclops, 6 is a Basilisk and 7 is the Medusa. If a Thargoid is there when you drop into the USS, it will approach to scan you.
At that point as soon as the Thargoid is within 500m, fire the heat-sink to make your ship go cold - this will stop the Thargoid from detecting your heat signature and it will not then consider you a threat.

Waste no time using the Xeno Scanner to get that scan! The scan only works within 500m.

If you don't go cold, the Thargoid will attack you and almost certainly kill you.

Once the scan is complete, back off and retreat to at least 1km away. As long as you don't get close or fire weapons, you can remain and observe the Thargoid. Usually they will wander around scanning wreckage and picking up components before warping away.

Live to scan another day

Once you've scanned or once the ship has left, jump out and head to the nearest station. You did it!

Tips for beginners: Shipyard and Outfitting


Building a ship is complicated and expensive, so it's helpful to know what all the modules of a ship are for and what is involved in assembling them into the ship you want.

All players are created equal, but depending on how much you play Elite and how fast you gain experience on the almost-vertical learning curve, very few Commanders stay that way.

Surprisingly the Sidewinder is a highly adaptable multi-role ship, with a very respectable 24Ly light range when upgraded, but most players want to move on from the “start ship” as soon as they can.

So what ship will you choose and how will you equip it? That depends on budget entirely. However, the principle budget requirements are the same; as a rule, whatever the basic hull of a ship costs, the cash needed to outfit the ship will at least equal that cost again. You will likely need to spend 300K CR outfitting a 300K CR Cobra once you've bought it and have enough cash left over for rebuy of the resulting build.

An “A Rated” Cobra can cost over 8M CR, so don’t get carried away on your first build!

One other, final consideration, is the size of your ship. Outposts only have Small and Medium landing pads, so the moment you upgrade to a Large pad ship, you rule out visiting outpost locations. You'll never dock your Type-7 or Anaconda at Hutton Orbital!

Where to shop

Not all stations sell ships or parts. Stock of both varies around the galaxy. Most outposts won’t even have a shipyard. You need to find a system where you can buy the ship you want AND have a decent enough outfitting stock, that you can equip you ship well.

Why does that matter? Early on in the game I went to a system and bought a Viper Mk III and sold my Sidewinder. I then found the station outfitting only sold E rated Frame Shift Drives (same as I had), so there I was, in a system 9Lyr from the next system in a ship with 7.9Lyr jump range and no option (even with the credits) to buy a better FSD. Don’t get stranded like I did.

Find a suitable system in the galaxy map. In the galaxy map, select the View TAB, pick Economy view; select Refinery and High Tech, and opt to filter by population, raising the minimum to past the half-way point. A high tech, high population system will ensure the stations will be well stocked.

You can cheat by looking on www.eddb.io and searching for stations that stock the ship you desire. Also check the availability of FSD drives that are A-D rated, for the reason I already stated – you don’t want to get marooned in your new ship.

CMDR Echologi on Reddit reminded me that all stations in the control of Li Yong-Rui offer a 15% discount on Ships and Modules. That can save a ton of cash! Also, anyone who has reached Elite rank can visit Jameson Memorial station in Shinrarta Dezhra which always has every ship and module and a 10% discount on everything.

Head to the system and station of your choice to get started.

Sell or store?

You’ve got a sack of cash and you’re sitting in the showroom, but do you part-exchange the old bucket of bolts, or keep it and opt for fleet expansion? That’s down to personal preference and budget. If you’ve got the money, why the hell not? But it is very easy to become a ship hoarder. Take it from someone that owned every ship in the game until recently, you can just end up keeping ships for the sake of it. Bragging rights aside, do you need it? Will you use it? Have you got the money? If the answer is no to any of those questions, sell.

Remember: When you sell modules, you get back what you paid. BUT when you sell the ship, you lose 10%, so downgrade every core module to E rated and sell all hardpoints, utility modules and optional internals before you sell the ships hull. That will reduce your losses. Also consider storing any hard-to-get modules or weapons, if they can be fitted to your new vessel.

Into the Shipyard you go

You’ve made your choice, spent your credits and purchased a new ship hull. What next? Well, all ships come in a (just) flyable state, but they are poorly equipped with only core internal modules and no optional equipment. The first stop you must make is station outfitting.

Class and efficiency

No, I'm not talking about butlers! All modules in Elite: Dangerous are rated to a class number (size) and (heat efficiency) letter.

Class 1 is the smallest, to Class 8 the largest. E rated is worst heat efficiency and A rated is the best. With the letter rating for internal modules D rated is always lightweight, being the lowest weight in class and B rated is always armoured, making it the heaviest and toughest in each class.

For a trade-ship or exploration ship, you'll want D rated internals for low weight giving the best possible jump range. However, a combat build would want the best means of heat dispersal and maximum power distribution, so you'd A rate all the internals on your combat ship.

Do not make the mistake of buying a module that is a class below the one required by the ship. What do I mean? If your Cobra needs a Class 4 Power Plant, while a Class 2 or 3 plant can be fitted and will be a lot cheaper and lighter and maybe even A rated, it is below specification for your ship. It would suck if, on take-off your ship lacks the power for more than life-support and you float over the pad until the station kills you for loitering. Using lower-classed modules can be done and can add advantages for weight and cost, but you need to have a good understanding of power management and the ship’s limitations before you try this.


Turret, Gimbal or fixed? While weapon mounts are (to a degree) down to preference, the optimum mount to use depends on the agility of the ship, the experience of the commander and the role of the ship.

Fixed weapons offer the highest damage per second (DPS) and lowest power consumption, but you need dead-on aim to hit your target.

 Gimbal mount weapons consume more power and have a lower DPS, they offer the option of target tracking (auto-aim) within a defined area of the pilot view. While they may not hit as hard, you are more likely to hit the target.

 Turret mount weapons have a similar or slightly higher power consumption than gimbal, but have full target tracking and automatic fire (in two modes – target-only & fire-at-will). Once you fire at a target, the turret weapon will continue to fire until the target is out of range or killed. What’s more, the turret can fire 360 degrees around it’s hardpoint, so can shoot at targets out of the pilot’s view.

Fixed weapons produce a line of fire, Gimbal weapons produce a cone of fire and Turret weapons produce a dome of fire. Fixed are always the cheapest and Turrets the most expensive. Not all weapons are available in Turret or Gimbal mounts.

For different weapon types, read my detailed article “Guns and ammo”.

Utility mounts

The ship’s utility mounts are used to fit scanners and counter-measures.

Chaff and Electronic Counter Measures are explained in detail in the “Guns and Ammo” article referenced above.

Heat Sink Launcher

In space, keeping cool is problem. Because your ship is in a vacuum, you cannot use conduction or convection to disperse heat, so you can only radiate heat (hence the giant heat vents on all ships).
The heat sink is a utility mount item that drains the ship’s hot coolant into a metal disc shaped like a hockey puck and fires it into space, replacing the old hot coolant with new cold liquid. Quite literally throwing the ship’s heat away into space.
While the Heat Sink is a form of counter measure for heat seeking missiles, it is also an essential tool for keeping the ship cool in extreme circumstances.

Explorers use them for when their ship drops out of hyperspace too close to very hot large star (or twin stars) and the ship is so hot, a frame shift jump would destroy the ship. By using a heat sink while the FSD charges, the temperature is kept below dangerous levels.

Combat pilots use them (not just as countermeasure) but also to reduce heat in combat, especially when utilising Shield Cells which produce a great deal of heat when operated.


The Kill Warrant Scanner is used in bounty hunting and searches the target “wanted” ship’s registry in galactic police database and adds any bounty vouchers from outside the current system onto the amount already shown. This can increase the bounty rewards by as much as double.

The Cargo Scanner is used by pirates to determine what cargo a ship is carrying. No point getting into a fight over bio-waste!

The Frame Shift Wake Scanner is a means to collect data from low and high wakes left behind when a ship jumps to super-cruise or hyper-space respectively. Bounty hunters use them to track which system a target ship has gone when they jump to hyper-space, putting the destination in their navigation computer, allowing the bounty hunter to give chase into the next star system.

Core internals

All ships have the same core systems. They just vary in size and cost. The big ones cost a lot! A Class 1A Shield Generator costs 79,268 CR, while a Class 8A costs 146,327,841 CR.


The ship’s bulkheads make up the primary armour that protects the ship’s systems (and you) from damage when the shields are down. The basic armour is designated Lightweight Alloy and is just a standard hull. Reinforced Alloy in much heavier and offers better protection from explosive and kinetic damage (bombs & bullets). Military Grade Composite is almost twice as heavy as Reinforced and increased hull integrity.

Finally, there are two types of specialist bulkhead. Mirrored Surface Composite and Reactive Surface Composite. These two options trade off thermal resistance for kinetic protection (and vice versa) to offer specific protection. In simple terms Mirrored is laser resistant and Reactive is bullet resistant.

Reactor Bay

The power plant is the heart of the ship. Without power, you die. When selecting your power plant, it is advisable to pick this module before anything else. Then you can see, as you add other modules and (critically) weapons, if your power plant can supply the Mega Watts (MW) you require.

Thruster Mounting

Your thrusters don’t just decide how fast your ship travels in normal space, but also its agility. The speed of roll, pitch and yaw will improve (or worsen) depending on the thrusters you’ve equipped.

Always be careful to make sure your thrusters capable of lifting the weight of your ship, laden and unladen, especially if using lower class modules or you’ll buy one ton of cargo and be unable to take off!

FSD Housing

By use of the Frame Shift Drive, you ship can enter super-cruise allowing faster-than-light space travel. It can also open a hyperspace window into a realm called witch-space, which permits your ship to make interstellar journeys of tens of light years in as many seconds. The witch-space realm was thought to be the home of the Thargoids, at least only they have been known to travel in witch-space and hyperdict ships (arrest a frameshift jump).

The size of the Frame Shift Drive and its efficiency rating determine your ship’s jump range and how hot your ship gets when charging for a jump. Jump range is affected by ship weight. Cargo, extra bulkheads; even a full tank of fuel will lower the distance your ship jumps.

Overloading your Frame Shift Drive with a heavy ship will turn your craft into a shuttle. You won’t jump anywhere!

Also, the further you jump in a single go, the more fuel you use. You can travel many times further using short “economic” jumps than in long jumps using the same fuel.

Which FSD should you buy? The best one you can afford. Just make sure your power plant is up to the task.

Environment Control

Life support is quite important. It’s the device than keeps you alive. It also has an “emergency mode” when your canopy is blown out. When that happens, the better rated your Life Support, the longer the oxygen will keep flowing. A basic E rated Life Support system gives 5 minutes oxygen while the A rated module gives 25 minutes.

If you are taking a ship into combat (especially a Vulture, which has a fragile canopy) the A rated Life Support would be recommended.

Power Coupling

The Power Distributor is the buffer (and often the bottleneck) between your power plant and the ships systems, weapons and thrusters. The higher rated your distributor, the larger the power capacitance of the three power systems and the faster they recharge.

I will explain about power balance and module priority later on, but the key feature of any power supply is that the power stays on when you need it to be there and the juice is coming fast enough for your purposes, so if that is combat, you need A rated power plants.

Sensor Suite

Ships sensors are used for scanning whatever object you target. Apart from stars and planets which can be scanned from a larger distance due to their size, most objects in space must be within a set distance and in front of the ships target reticule in order to scan the. For an A rated sensor the scan range is 6.94km, while the E rated module only starts working at 4.64km – unless they’ve been engineered.

For traders, explorers and miners, you probably want the D rated sensors as weight will be the biggest consideration. For combat ships, the A rated might be favourable, as if “you see them before they see you” then you’ve got an advantage. However, high rated modules use more power, which makes it a choice between seeing them sooner, or shooting them for longer.

Fuel Store

The fuel tank holds the hydrogen fuel that runs your power plant and fuels the Frame Shift Drive. Extra tanks can be added to the optional internals, but initially the size of your core fuel tank will dictate how many jumps your ship can make between stations. At least until you equip a Fuel Scoop.

Optional internals

These modules will vary depending on the size of your ship and your intended career path in the game.

Types of optional internal module

Module Name Description

Auto-field maintenance unit

This module will carry out repairs on your ship on systems not in use, including your canopy. The one exception is your power plant, as you cannot turn that off to repair it without dying.

Cargo racks

These hold cargo canisters. Cargo space is also used to hold limpet drones for your limpet controllers.

FSD Interdictor

The Frame Shift Drive Interdictor is a type of jamming device that when used on another target ship in super-cruise will cause their drive to fail and the ship to drop back to normal space where they are then vulnerable to attack.

Fuel tanks

Each ship comes with a basic fuel tank, but additional tanks can be added to increase the overall range of the ship between refuelling stops.

Fuel Scoop

A Fuel Scoop is a very useful module that allows your ship to collect hydrogen fuel from the corona of some stars if you fly close enough. The bigger the scoop, the faster it collects fuel.

Fighter Hangar

Fighter Hangars hold one or two one-man deployable ships. These can be flown by you while the helm is on autopilot, or can be flow by crew you employ, or by other CMDRs in multicrew.

Planetary Vehicle Hangar

This module is your Surface Reconnaissance Vehicle bay and is needed if you want to leave your ship on planet surfaces.

Collector limpet controller

Something which saves a lot of tedious manual cargo-scooping. The controller dispatches drones, called limpets, which fly out of your ship, collect mined ore, or cargo canisters and return them to your cargo scoop.
Handy tip: if you have a ship large enough, you can have multiple controllers.

Fuel transfer limpet controller

Rather than collect something, this controller will dispatch a limpet with 1T of fuel from your own ship and deliver it to a target ship. This is used to rescue ships in distress and other CMDRs who have run out of fuel. The tool of choice for a Fuel Rat!

Hatch breaker limpet controller

If you destroy a ship, you may (if very lucky) find some cargo in the remains, but if you have a hatch breaker limpet controller, you can send drones at the target ship to pop open their cargo hold – at which point, the bounty will come falling out.

Prospector limpet controller

You can, when mining shoot anything and the rock will produce ore or not. And the ore produced could be anything (within the chemical ranges of that solar system).
However, a prospecting limpet controller will tell you what is in a rock, how much is there, how much you’ve mined already AND increase the yield.
If you are mining and have the space, this is an essential tool.

Economy class cabins

Like the Japanese pod hotels, these are functional but far from salubrious accommodations when being transported. But it does pack ‘em in!

Business class cabins

These cabins are how the corporate types like to travel. While you’ll take fewer bodies, they pay a lot better.

First class cabins

First class cabins are the top-end of cabins that can be fitted to standard ships. First class passengers can pay a lot, but also demand a great deal.

Luxury class cabins

Luxury class cabins can only be fitted to purpose-made passenger vessels, which currently are the Dolphin, Orca and Beluga.

Luxury class passengers offer the highest rewards, but frequently demand changes of destination and side-trips. You can lose cash if they get upset.


The refinery is the module that grinds ore and stores minerals in bins (or hoppers). When each bin hits 100% of a particular metal or mineral, it is transferred to the cargo racks as 1T of cargo.
If your bins are all used, but not 100% full, refining can stop. More bins are better, but the size of the refinery is dictated by the module Class sizes available on your ship.

Shield generator

Don’t leave dock without one. Yes, you can fly without shields, but what is that cargo rack going to be worth when you’re dead?
Shields are mass-rated, so you can fly lower class shields that the maximum your ship will take (e.g. A Cobra could use 3D shields for trade or exploration, but would need 4A shields for combat).

Bi-weave shield generator

Bi-weave shields are only available in a C rated module. This means they are never as strong as standard shields. However, the bi-weave module charges faster, so a damaged shield will return to three rings and an collapsed shield will restore 1.5x faster with this type of shield.

Prismatic shield generator

These are only available to rank 3 power player members of Aisling Duval’s faction after four weeks. Prismatic shields are 20% stronger than standard, but draw a lot more power and weigh more. They are like a shield with an A rated booster built-in.

Shield cell bank

Shield cells are like a battery for quick-charging your shields. If you have every discharged a battery quickly, you’ll know it makes a lot of heat, and shield cells are just the same. In simple terms, if shields are a balloon, shield cells are small tanks of helium.

Hull reinforcement package

These modules provide bulkhead reinforcement, adding to the armour and total integrity of your ship.

Module reinforcement package

Module reinforcement packages add to the total integrity of your ships modules, making them resistant to more damage.

Docking computer

Apart from playing “The Blue Danube” the docking computer will fly your ship into a station automatically from the moment you request landing permission. The downside is it takes up a module slot and can make mistakes. Use it if you must, but don’t rely on it.

Advanced discovery scanner

When you arrive in a new system, this scanner (when mapped to a fire group) will scan the entire system.

Intermediate discovery scanner

The intermediate scanner works in the same way, but is limited to a range of 1,000Ls from the ship. Anything further out, will not be scanned.

Basic discovery scanner

The basic scanner is limited to a range of just 500Ls from the ship. Anything further out, will not be scanned.

Detailed surface scanner

For real earnings from exploration you need this planetary surface scanner. This collects the really valuable cartographic data.


Career specific choices

Many of the modules available at stations are mysterious items you never use. Why? Because they are for a specific purpose that is not required in your chosen line of work. A trader won’t ever need a refinery. No self-respecting honest pilot would be seen dead carrying a manifest scanner – the pirate’s tool of choice. Explorers have little use for Frame Shift Interdictors.

Here is the shopping list for each career path when ship building.


Mining is all about patience and free money. After all, you’re fishing for gold and what you pick up for nothing, when sold is pure profit.

You will want: Mining Laser(s), Cargo rack(s), Refinery, Collector Limpet Controller(s), Limpets and optionally a Prospecting Limpet Controller.

Bounty hunting

Being a bounty hunter is combat on the right side of the law. Profitable and exciting! See the galaxy and shoot people.

You will want: Mixed weapons, Kill Warrant Scanner, Frame Shift Wake Scanner, Frame Shift Interdictor, Shield Cell Bank(s), Heat Sink(s) and A Rated core internals.


Yar, ‘tis a pirate’s life for you! Living in lawless systems and taking bounty from traders who cross ye path.

You will want: Mixed weapons, Manifest Scanner, Frame Shift Interdictor, Cargo rack(s), Shield Cell Bank(s), Heat Sink(s), Hatch Breaker Limpet Controller, Limpets and A Rated core internals.


To visit new worlds and boldly get your name on the “first discovered” tag of as many worlds as possible.

You will want: Heat Sink(s), Advanced Discovery Scanner, Detailed Surface Scanner, Automated Module Repair Unit(s), Fuel Scoop, D rated internal modules with A rated Frame Shift Drive. Optionally you may want to add a Planetary Vehicle Hangar and SRV.


Buying and selling goods across the galaxy. The gold paint-jobs were added for traders!

You will want: Cargo rack(s), Smallest shields safely possible, D rated internal modules with A rated Frame Shift Drive. Weapons are optional, while you might want to consider a Fuel Scoop – it makes long-range trades non-stop and more profitable.


Visiting tourist beacons and flying to Colonia and back. Cargo that talks back. A highly profitable line of work.

You will want: Passenger Cabin(s), Fuel Scoop, D rated internal modules with A rated Frame Shift Drive for the best possible jump range. Weapons are optional, but most passenger get upset when you get into a fight instead of getting them to safety.

Or… don’t specialise!

Ships like the Cobra, Python and Anaconda are classed as multi-role for a reason. If you don’t want to get stuck in a “gaming rut” switch it up. Have a passenger cabin and a cargo rack or two and a Kill Warrant scanner. Take cargo to a system, hit the Nav Beacon for a few bounties, then on to the station to cash in and collect a passenger mission. The game is what you make it.

I have the POWER!

This final section is about balancing power. When building a ship, the number of Mega Watts needed can easily exceed the about your best A rated power plant can push out. What to do? Prioritise.

How do you prioritise power?

Well, your FrameShift drive uses a lot of power, but only when it’s on. Your weapons need a lot of power, but only when your hard-points are deployed in combat. This means you can use that power for one set of systems or the other; the ship assumes you want it all at once, but in fact you never will. You see in outfitting a “Retracted” and a “Deployed” usage figure.

A neat little feature of module management is power priority. What you need to do is set those modules you won’t use in combat to a lower priority than the rest of your systems. Your ship’s computer is very smart, so when power gets low, the lower priority items get switched off first.

In practice

I have a Sidewinder (no, really I do) which has 6.4MW power output. I want to put some modules on the ship that will overload the power supply (demand more than 6.4). How far over that amount can I go?

In the Modules TAB of the systems panel, you can see I have changed the Planetary Vehicle hangar to priority 2 and the Frame Shift Drive to priority 3. All my other systems including weapons are still priority 1.

From the station outfitting I can find out how much power each of those modules uses.

The FSD uses 0.16MW and the hangar uses a whopping 0.75MW. If I add those figures to my current maximum of 6.4, then my actual deployed maximum is in fact (with these modules prioritised out) 7.31MW.

If I pop a couple of beam lasers on there, a Class 2A FSD and some Class 2C Bi-Weave shields, although the outfitting screen says I’ve exceeded the maximum of my power plant, I’m laughing because the total (7.15) is less than my new limit of 7.31MW.

Is there a downside? Yes. If you are fighting and losing and your Frameshift is offline due to power prioritisation, then folding your hardpoints will turn it back on, but there will be a time-lag before the FSD can be used. That might make the difference between getting away or getting spaced.

Tips for Beginners: Combat and bounty hunting

CMDR David Waywell on Twitter asked for a guide to Combat and Bounty hunting in the game, so here goes.

Okay, so I am assuming you have done the basic tutorial missions. You haven’t? Well, do them! No arguments. They teach you the basic basics. What’s the difference between this and those? The same difference between driving lessons and road experience. One gets you a licence, the other keeps you alive afterwards.

First, you might want to read my “Shields and Armour” and “Guns and Ammo” articles – you don’t want to leave the station unprepared.

Arm up

In addition to a mix of energy and kinetic weapons, depending on your budget, you need a Kill Warrant Scanner. This can often double the pay out on any bounty. It looks up the target ship in the galactic police database and flags bounties in other jurisdictions. If the pirate has been bad in this system, chances are they’ve been just as naughty elsewhere.

Obviously as you get more credits, some can be used to tough up your ship with better shields, armour, reinforced bulkheads and reinforced modules. You may also unlock some Engineers and have them polish your guns and systems making improvements.

Another couple of handy equipment items are shield cells and shield boosters. I've explained how they work in another article, but in simple terms if your shield is a balloon, boosters make the balloon thicker and shield cells are like cans of helium to re-inflate the shield in an emergency.

Taking out another ship – first principles

In combat, you want to kill the other ship as quickly as possible, leaving them little opportunity to recover or strike back. However, you need to do things in the right order.

First, scan the ship (i.e. get them in your cross-hairs for 10 seconds). This will establish if they are “wanted” or “clean”. You don’t want to shoot the wrong ship obviously.

THIS IS VERY, VERY IMPORTANT: Until you have minimally scanned the target ship and established they are wanted, do not shoot them, or you will become wanted yourself!

Second, you want to scan the ship with your Kill Warrant Scanner.
Bind this to your secondary fire, or on another fire-group you can quickly switch to.
The scan has a progress meter and says “complete” when finished. If you look in the Contacts TAB, you’ll see the bounty on the target ship increase when this is done.

Thirdly and finally, kill ‘em dead.

Use (primarily) your energy weapon(s) to take down their shields, then switch to kinetic (e.g. Multi-cannon, missiles, etc.) to destroy their hull. If your weapons capacitor can take the strain, hit ‘em with everything or if not, alternate. When their hull reaches zero, boom!

Other tactics to use; bigger ships are harder to kill, but a less agile than smaller ships. A Cobra can waste an Elite Anaconda, simply by staying behind/below the ship and avoiding its line of fire. Don’t go head-to-head with a ship with bigger guns. Keep moving, use Chaff and try and get behind them as much as possible.
Remember that your ship turns fastest with the throttle at 50% and using manoeuvring thrusters speeds your rate of turn.
If the other ship's shields are going back up and the shields are pulsing, then they are using shield cells. Shields (even with shield cells) charge poorly if under attack, so don’t let up. Also, shield cells make a lot of heat, so if you add to that with lasers, they might just overheat their ship and blow up! Worst case, their modules might start to fail and weapons go offline.

Big ships like Anacondas can have a LOT of hull to destroy, but they also have a weakness. Their power plant. If you target their Power Generator module, you can take this to zero well before the ships hull is gone.
To target sub-systems, open your Target Panel and view the Sub Targets TAB (with the enemy ship targeted) and scroll down (or up) to "Power Plant". When you do this, the sub-system's health indicator is added to the target view. You will see a red square target reticle added to the HUD on your target ship. Aim for this to inflict maximum module damage.

Worst case scenario is they are left floating dead in space for you to kill at leisure, in many cases the chain reaction causes the whole ship to explode.

If you are in a [LOW] or [HIGH] RES with police around, you can "assist" them with their kills. Always be careful not to shoot the cops, but any ships you tag give you the full bounty, even if its the police that finish them off. For a lone player or a player in a relatively weak ship, it is a good way to make some easy kills, using the police as your Wing.

Where to find people to shoot

While combat can occur anywhere, you’ll have better luck going to the right places if you want to claim bounties on those pirates.

For bounty hunting, you can always find a few likely targets at the Nav Beacon in any inhabited system - this is "combat light" as there are mostly going to be clean ships just passing through and only a few targets will be wanted. It's a good place for a new CMDR to learn the basics of bounty hunting and also for any player to "test fire" their weapons in a low risk situation.

The really rich picking are always to be found in Resource Extraction sites, which come in four flavours. The basic RES is much like a Nav Beacon, then you graduate to a [LOW] RES which will have small ships and police presence, a [HIGH] RES which will have larger ships and more frequent bandits and a small police presence and finally the [HAZARDOUS] RES where there are no police - you are on your own here - and ships up to Anacondas can (any mostly will) be hostile. This is Wing and Battlecruiser territory. Unless your ship is highly equipped for combat, the player experienced or you are in a Wing with a group of CMDRs who will watch each other's backs, then don't venture into these locations.

Where do you find RES sites? They exist in rocky and icy rings around planets (where mining is to be found). Simple check a system map for a planet with rings. When you get to within 1,000ls of the planet, the Resource Extraction Sites will be shown on your Target Panel Navigation TAB.

Combat Zones are two-factions war zones in systems in a war/civil war state and kills here reward the player with Combat Vouchers, not bounty. It can be profitable, but the rewards are fixed rate, not variable so generally Combat Zones pay less.

Don’t risk what you cannot afford to lose

Never a truer phrase was coined than "Never fly without rebuy!". If you have only a small amount of Credits, little more than your ship rebuy cost, then you should not fly into combat. Sooner or later in combat, somebody will come along and kill you. Be prepared. If you can't take that heat, stay out of the kitchen.

With that in mind, before you fly out to that RES and risk it all on the turn of a laser, dock at the nearest station to the RES. That way, if you DO die, your ship will be returned somewhere local when you rebuy.

You also want to return to station to cash in your bounties. It's no good making millions, only to lose them before you can cash in.

Too many commanders spend all their spare credits (even their rebuy) on shiny new lasers or armour then get killed and are left back in a Sidewinder. Don't be one of them!

Look before you leap

So you are just about to open up all guns on that Eagle you just scanned, when you notice something. The ship is in a Wing. Now if it is a Wing of two Sidewinders and you are in a Python, then "meh, so what?". But if you are in a Cobra and the Eagle is escorting a Federal Gunship with fighter and second Eagle escort, picking a fight with them could be suicide.

So check the ship is not in a wing and if they are, make very sure the size and aspect of the other ships in the Wing or risk having the tiger by the tail. You'll simply get mobbed and destroyed in fast order.

Brave, brave Sir Robin knew a thing or two about combat

Sometimes or maybe often, you will get your behind kicked. At this point discretion is the better part of valour. As Sir Robin would say, "run away!".

If your shields are down, don't ignore it. Fly away from the threat and wait for them to recharge. Failing that, if you are pursued or outnumbered, fold your hard-points, boost like crazy and jump to super cruise.

Live to fight another day.

I shot the Sheriff

There you are happily plugging pirates in a RES when all of sudden all the green ships on the radar turn red and EVERY ship in sight is attacking. You are wanted!

How'd that happen? You probably shot a cop, or a clean commander accidentally. Or maybe you got gung-ho and shot someone before the basic scan was complete. Trouble is, they don't distinguish between accidents and deliberate attacks, so "friendly fire" is an immediate death sentence, either way you are now public enemy number 1. Again, run away!

If you just clipped them, then you must leave the star system and come back after 10 minutes. See the countdown in your Target panel Transactions TAB. When the status turns from minutes to "On H-Jump" the wanted status will have cleared and you can go back to the system you were in and pay your fine at the station. If you kill someone, then the situation will be more dire. You can't go back and there will a price on your head for a week. If that happens, you need to relocate your bounty-hunting to another system.

Collecting the cash

Periodically, you should return to the station and hand in the bounty you've collected. When you're running low on multi-cannon ammo is a good indicator!

In the station services, select Contacts and go to the Bounty section to hand in your vouchers and collect those credits.

If you've been using your Kill Warrant Scanner as directed, you see in your transactions TAB on the Targets Panel, that you've got bounty outside your area; for example if you are in the Federation, you'll see Alliance and Empire bounty listed as unclaimed. You can either fly to a station held by these factions and claim it or find a Broker (in some stations) who will cash these voucher in with a 25% cut for them.


Good luck and happy hunting CMDRs!

Tips for Beginners: Community Goals

Community Goals pop up every week, sometimes several at once. So what? Well, they are a pretty easy way to make money. Lots of money.

If ever there was a get-rich-quick scheme that was legitimate to play in Elite: Dangerous, Community Goals would be it!

Community Goals are effectively a mission that can be worked on as a collective project by all players, usually running for a week starting on a Thursday. They have tiers (target amounts like a cash-o-meter on a telethon) which if met, increase the end pay out. If the time limit is hit or the final tier reached, the mission ends.

As a player makes contributions to a goal, their efforts are rated from top 100%, 75%, 50%, 25%. 10% and Top 10 Commanders (the best of the best!). Rewards are paid from the minimum at the top 100% to the maximum for those at the top 10%, the Top 10 CMDRs getting the largest pay out of all.

Types of community goal

  • Bounty hunting – killing ships wanted in a system and handing in Bounty Vouchers
  • Building capital ships or starports – supplying one of more commodities for construction
  • Exploration – handing in cartographic data
  • Piracy – stealing illegal goods from ships
  • Trade – supplying one of more commodities
  • Wars – killing ships in Conflict Zones

All community goals are not made equal. Some are trade-related and some are combat related. They are open to everyone, but the amount of money you can make is very much dependant on the ship you own. For example a commander flying a Sidewinder with a 4T cargo capacity shipping goods to a station will have to make a LOT of trips to catch up with the CMDR flying an Imperial Cutter with a 734T cargo capacity.

Again a CMDR in a basic Type-6 trader will fare poorly in a Combat Zone compared to a CMDR flying a fully engineer Federal Corvette.

This is an example of where co-operation pays off. With a Wing of four players, while you still won’t hit big rewards in the trade goal itself, you also get 5% of the profit from your other wing-mates. Which could be 100,000CR per trip if one of them is flying a Cutter. A type-6 can score hits on ships in a combat zone, while his wing-mates in combat ships make the kill.

Where to find Community Goals

The Community Goals (or CGs) are listed at the top of the Mission Board in any station.

They are also shown as a yellow icon on the Galaxy Map.

Sign me up!

Rule number one is SIGN UP. Many a commander has handed in cargo or bounty, then realised they had not signed up to the goal FIRST and the effort was wasted. Go to the station running the Community Goal and sign up to the goal you want to play (there may be more than one) before doing anything else.

Your initial reward will be zero until you have made at least one contribution. Then, whatever happens, you will receive the minimum reward pay out. All the rewards increase at each completed tier, so the minimum reward can only get BIGGER!

Okay, so how do I get rich quick?

The typical minimum payout of one of the community goals in recent months has been somewhere around the 500,000CR mark. For a new player, getting half a million credits for shipping one ton of Grain or killing one Eagle in a Low risk Resource Extraction Site is a pretty easy way to get a rapid leg-up in the game.

This doesn't just apply to new players.

Wing up. If you and some buddies (or friendly strangers) wing up in a resource extraction site, you can pull down larger ships, watch each others backs and generally kill targets a heck of a lot faster than you could on your own. Even splitting the bounty four ways, the amounts you can make increase greatly because you dispatch ships so fast. Small ships can keep fighters off big ships. Big ships make killing those juicy Anacondas a breeze. The Wing is your friend.

But I'm a shut-in with no friends and only play in Solo mode. How do I get rich? Well, again it's easy, but you need to use the police as your Wing. This only works for Bounty Hunting CGs, but there are always a few happening, so you don't have to wait long for one to come up.
The tactic is simple. Go into a HIGH or LOW risk Resource Extraction Site (not Hazardous - they are not policed) and find and follow the police ships (green on your radar) and shoot whatever ships they are attacking. For minimum risk, go after targets with shields already down and hull under 50%. Shoot to get some hit damage, then move on. When the cops kill the target, you get paid the full bounty. Using this method a new CMDR in a Sidewinder can make 100K CR every few minutes. You only need to inflict damage to get paid.
You then hand in your bounty to the Community Goal and depending on how much time you put in over the week, you could easily get into the top 50% or even top 25%.

Imagine ending your first week in the game with 5-10CR Million!

Show me the money

Finally, don't forget to go back to the community goal station when the mission is complete and collect your rewards.

As you can see from my screenshot, pocketing 40M CR is perfectly possible! Yes, that shiny new ship or part will be yours! Mwhahahaahaha!!!

Tips for Beginners: Mining

To take up the career path of mining in Elite: Dangerous, you need some basic equipment on your ship and the location of a rocky or icy planetary ring. Having these, you can go and refine the chunks you blast off of asteroids into their base minerals or metals and sell them. Why is doing this better than buying and selling them between stations? Because there is no cost to the commodities you mine, which means every credit of their sale value is pure profit.

Mining; to some it’s the fishing of space, to others it is figuratively and actually, grinding rocks.

Equipping your ship

The absolute minimum equipment needed for mining is a refinery, some cargo racks and one or more mining lasers. This means the bar for entry into a mining career is pretty low. So what are these items for and what should I choose?

You can equip a Sidewinder with a Class 1E refinery and a single mining laser for 12,800 CR, while a single ton of Palladium can sell for over 13,000 CR, so there's money in them thar rocks!

Mining lasers

The mining lasers drill into asteroids and cause chunks containing minerals or metals to break off and float into space. You can then retrieve these chunks and pick them up in your cargo scoop to be refined. Mining lasers are fixed hard-point weapons and only come in Class 1 and Class 2 (small and medium) sizes. They are purely for mining and cannot be used to shoot other ships, so effectively remove those hard-points for defence. Unless you manage to obtain the PowerPlay reward weapons, the Mining Lance, which can function as both a mining laser and as a weapon.

For best results; two Class 2 mining lasers.


The refinery is a specialist internal slot equipment item that takes ore from the cargo scoop, grinds it and extracts the valuable metals and minerals into bins. When these bins are 100% filled with a single commodity, they are emptied into a one ton cargo cannister and transferred to your ships cargo hold, freeing the bin for a new item (or more of the same).

The bigger and better a refinery, the more bins you get. A Class 1E refinery has one bin, while a Class 1A has four. The largest refinery is Class 4A and has ten bins. What this means is that the more bins you have, the more things you can refine at one time. If you only have two bins and find a asteroid that contains three metals, you will keep having to discard the hopper contents of the third commodity to manually "unblock" your refinery. This can be time consuming, so you must either get a refinery with enough bins to keep up with the different types of ore, otherwise you'll be throwing a lot of money into space.

The refined ore can be held in the refinery and is not considered cargo, so you can go back to mining at a later date and fill the other 50% of the bin with Gold to get that ton of cargo. Ships can also be stored with partially filled refineries.

Mining process

For best results; the biggest refinery you can afford to fit!

Cargo racks

It may seem obvious, but you do need a cargo hold to stick the refined metals and minerals into, when you have processed them. You should, for maximum profit, use all free internal slots for cargo space. The more you fill, the more credits you make.

For best results; it's all about the cargo space!

Scooping your brains out

When you are mining, you need to collect the ore into your cargo scoop. To do this manually, you must line up each fragment in your sights and click "target" then, with your cargo hatch deployed, scoop the ore from space. When the cargo scoop is deployed, your target reticule changes to a range-finder with a cross-hair. Keeping the targeted fragment in the middle of the cross-hair, slowly approach the object and it will pass below the nose of your ship and into your cargo scoop. With a clang!


While scooping ore to fill the six ton cargo space on a Sidewinder is not too arduous, however drilling and scooping to fill a largeer cargo hold is exceedingly laborious. So, in 1.2 of Elite: Dangerous, Frontier introduced Limpets that do the work for you.

Limpets for the win

Limpets are autonomous drones that carry out tasks while under remote control from your ship. There are fuel limpets to transfer fuel, hatch-breaker limpets that help pirates break open other ships cargo hatches and (what we are interested in) collector limpets, which grab any ore, materials or canisters in range of you ship and return them to your cargo scoop.

To use collector limpets, you need a Collector Limpet Controller fitted to an internal slot on your ship. Collector Controllers come in odd number classes – 1, 3, 5 & 7. The larger the class, the more limpets you can control at once and the longer the limpets will last and the further their range. You can (unlike refineries) have multiple limpet controllers, so they stack.

My Anaconda is equipped for mining and has two Class 5 Collector Limpet Controllers, so the ship commands six limpets at once - when mining ore the limpets rapidly collect all the spoil as it leaves the asteroid.

Limpet controllers program limpet drones and these have to be purchased, like ammo, in a station. Limpets are purchased from “Restock” menu and take up one ton of cargo space per drone. How many should you buy? As a rule of thumb, you should fill your cargo hold to 50-60% capacity with drones before heading out to a resource extraction site. Since drones have a finite lifespan and can be destroyed in collisions with asteroid, there is a fairly rapid turnover of drones.

When using drones, do not target ore (or canisters or materials) as the drone that collects the targeted item will self-destruct on return to your ship. Don’t ask me why.


The last type of limpet controller not already mentioned is the Prospector Limpet Controller. These also come in odd (not even) class sizes (1, 3, 5 & 7). They control one or more prospector limpets. What prospector limpets do, is when fired into an asteroid, tell you what ore the asteroid contains, what percentage of ores the asteroid is composed of and finally, the percentage you have mined that asteroid.

The Prospector Limpet tells you what you’ll get, when you have depleted the asteroid of ore and the best part; the limpet increases the yield of ore you can obtain.

Prospector limpets are well worth the cost, as they help you mine asteroids for the ore you want and give you a better volume of material.

The perfect mining ship

The ideal ship for mining should have both a Collector and Prospector Limpet Controller, two Class 2 mining lasers and all remaining internal racks converted to cargo space - half full of limpets.

Show me the money!

Okay, now you have your shiny new mining ship all set, where do you go?

You can mine in asteroid belts. These are usually found between the primary star and planets. The content of asteroid belts is determined by the type of star they orbit.

You can also mine for ore at any planetary ring, but there are three types of ring and each type will contain a different variety of ores.

  • Rocky rings - These contain Bauxite, Bertrandite, Cobalt, Coltan, Gallite, Indite, Lepidolite, Rutile and Uraninite.
  • Icy rings - These contain Bromellite, Hydrogen Peroxide, Lithium Hydroxide, Liquid Oxygen, Low Temperature Diamonds, Methane Clathrate, Methanol Monohydrate Crystals and Water.
  • Metal rich rings - These contain Bertrandite, Coltan, Gallite, Gold, Indite, Lepidolite, Osmium, Painite, Praseodymium, Samarium, Silver and Uraninite
  • Metallic rings - These contain Bertrandite, Gallite, Gold, Indite, Osmium, Painite, Palladium, Platinum, Praseodymium, Samarium and Silver

How do you know which is which? On the system map, selecting the second info TAB, you will see the ring type displayed. Which is best? Depends what ore or mineral you are seeking. The rare metals are only available in asteroids and are quite valuable. The most valuable items are Low Temperature Diamonds, but they are exceedingly rare, so in a time versus profit exercise, the metals will always win out.

Ring states

Another factor to be aware of is the ring state. How mined out are they?

Rings will start Pristine and then decrease in worth to Major, Common, Low and finally Depleted. Obviously you want the Pristine rings if you can find them, as they will give the highest yields.

A bit of time spent on the galaxy map finding systems with ringed worlds and then checking which are metallic and pristine, before you set out, will save you a lot of time and make you a lot more credits.

Now you have found a nice juicy pristine metallic ring and your ship is launch, where do you start?

Sauron is not the only one with ring trouble

The Resource Extraction Sites (Low, High and Hazardous) are obvious targets to head for when mining, but they attract both undesirable NPCs, police ships and other players. Not only have you got competition for resources, but also a high chance of attack. Now while these sites tend to have better ore content, they also carry higher risk. So you either want a wingman to guard your back or (after 2.2 hits) a deployable fighter. Some extra guns and armour can’t hurt – but you’re two hard-points down because of the mining lasers, so a hired gun is a better option.

The alternative is to just drop into a ring anywhere, at least 2000km from the nearest RES site. There may be a slightly lower yield of ore, but it is all yours and there will be nobody there to bother you or compete with.

If you decide to log off and resume mining later, leave the ring in super-cruise first! If you log off, then respawn in a ring, the game spawns a few NPCs around you and one of them will almost certainly be hostile.

Selling your cargo

Once you filled your hold (or run out of limpets) you then want to head to the nearest refinery economy station. These station economies tend to pay better rates for metals and minerals.

A number of Engineers require commodities for upgrades that can only be obtained from mining, so you have the opportunity to barter these items with other players who don't have a mining ship or don't want to pursue a career in the rock business. Even if you don’t have Horizons, you can still mine materials and ores that Horizons players need.

Another thing to be aware of, especially in refinery economy stations, is the mission board. You will often see mining missions that pay out thousands or even hundreds of thousands of credits for just a few tons of Painite or Palladium.

Always check the mission board BEFORE selling your cargo. You can pick up these high-value mining missions even if you already have the required commodity on board, so picking a couple of missions could easily multiply the value of your cargo a dozen times over!



The road to Thargoids: What we know so far

TTV 2Not everyone is fully up on where Elite:Dangerous is now with its ongoing saga of hunting for alien life, or the rich history behind it.

Alien 101

Back in 1984 when Elite hit the BBC Micro, the “bad guys” were an alien race known as the Thargoids. Beyond that, very little was known.  They flew octagonal saucer ships and would drag unsuspecting commanders out of the hyperspace tunnel (also called “witchspace”) and attack the commander in the deep black gulf of space between stars, where no help was available. Unless you were quick to fight or flee, it was certain death for most ships. The sight of their saucers was feared across the galaxy!

A decade or so later, in Frontier and Frontier 2 the lore of this race expanded and we found out that the Thargoids were an insectoid race with six limbs, resembling a praying mantis.

Since the release of Elite: Dangerous, and even before going right back to the 2012 KickStarter, the community has been speculating how and when the Thargoids might appear in the game.

Early signs

In March 2015, with the release of 1.2, Unknown Artefacts began to appear. These were being carried by Type-9 ships in a convoy in Strong Signal Sources. The NPC chatter was all about the "strange cargo" they carried. We also began to see them floating in space and they made a peculiar noise. You could pick them up in your ship's cargo scoop, but commanders found that their ship became rapidly damaged by holding one of these objects.

What did the noise mean?

There were two signals the UAs made. One was Morse code, which spelled out the system they were located. The other was a mystery until CMDR Mike Juliet Kilo realised the signal was co-ordinates and when plotted, drew his ship - a Vulture!

Throughout 1.3 the UAs kept making these same noises, but began to be found in space always pointing towards the Merope system...

Blistering Barnacles!

In January 2016, after the 2.0 release of the Horizons expansion, explorers found alien structures on the planet Merope 5C. These objects resembled barnacles or some kind of ocean shell, with crystalline spikes appearing to grow out of the ground around them. The spikes could be blasted into fragments with the SRV turret and one spike would yield a large emerald-like crystal, that when harvested using the SRV cargo scoop was revealed to be a meta material.

Meta materials and UA bombing

Commanders who noticed that the Unknown Artefacts damaged their ship, tried various things to avoid having their ship destroyed while hanging on to the UA they'd discovered. However, the side-effect of their sheltering inside a station, was that the station itself took damage and station services would shut down. Enterprising CMDRs then found that by delivering and selling multiple UAs to a single station could shut it down and thus "UA Bombing" was born. Deliberate sabotage of stations using UAs as a weapon.

Subsequently, it was discovered that the Meta Materials harvested from so-called "Barnacles" could repair UA-Bombed stations.

More and more barnacles have been discovered in the systems around Merope and seem to favour systems inside nebulas.

Unknown probe

Unknown Probe

In May 2016, Horizons 2.1 shipped and explorers began to discover smaller unknown artefacts, which were named Unknown Probes. These objects were active rather than passive, like their predecessors. When scanned with a discovery scanner they would emit an electro-magnetic pulse, disabling nearby ships and then play a data signal.

The signal was decoded in June by CMDR Muetdhiver and CMDR Wace. When fed through a spectrum analyser the audio produced a hazy diagram.

Probe signal

When cleaned up, the signal is clearly some kind of iconography.

Clean signal

General consensus is that the diagram represents some kind of address, but no definitive meaning has yet been found.

UPDATE: The guys on the Canonn Research Thread (#8) have noticed that the Unknown Probes appear to be seeking ammonia based worlds.

GamesCon hints

During GamesCom in early August, Frontier's live streams were "interrupted" by alien signals, which were overlaid with binary and ASCII messages.

Once again, the guys at Canonn Research put their collective brains to the problem and solved the puzzle and this week - CMDR Nochtrach, CMDR BALALAIKAX3 and CMDR Ihazevich found the clues Frontier gave led to an alien wreck site on the moon of Pleiades Sector AB-W B2-4,
Planet 9A at co-ordinates -26,3772°, 97,6982°.

Alien wreck site

The wreck is very reminiscent of Ridley Scott/H.R. Gieger's Alien spacecraft. A bio-mechanical craft, laying in the bottom of a valley. The craft was huge – far bigger than any human ship in the game.

CMDR Niamhy has even mocked up what the ship may have looked like before it crashed. Scary.

Alien ship

So, is it Thargoids?

Well truthfully, nobody outside Frontier knows. The ship doesn't resemble the earlier Thargoid ships. Are they friendly or not? Again, we don't yet know. What transpires next is anybody's guess and may be decided by who finds them first and who shoots first (or not).

Be careful out there. We are not alone...