Fallout 4: It’s Electric

There is no feeling quite so lonesome as the one where the Internet doesn’t find anything for your search term. I’m used to it, mostly, because secretly I’m an alien, but it was a little disconcerting to discover that I was apparently the only person in the known universe who didn’t know how to use electricity in Fallout.

Oh, plenty of people had searched for “how do you build a generator,” but that wasn’t my problem – I’d had a generator running at Sanctuary for days, although I haven’t got around to actually hooking anything up to it, which was the problem, as creating power was simple compared to using that power.  That sounds like some sort of backwards Yoda proverb, but mostly it was just screaming nerdrage at the computer.

This is why I had been avoiding the settlement option, as much as possible while still completing the WaitaMinuteMan missions that were sometimes the only one left where I hadn’t run into an unpassable beef gate of Radioactive Legendary MireClaws, which meant that without really trying, I’d assembled a small seraglio of settlements, usually manned by a lone settler despondently growing ‘tatos in the dark.

But “optional” in this case meant the same as “optional insurance” when the Mafia guy is standing in your bookstore holding a contract and a lighter.  In this case, the bookstore was the former MinuteMan bunker known as the Castle, the lighter was getting Piper to like me, and the contract was hooking up power to the Freedom Radio Transmitter.  I may have stretched the analogy too far, there.

You’d have thought that fighting a Mirelurk Queen would have been enough of a capstone for the mission

Cloverfield’s Momma

but I guess Fallout was really crankin’ up the hate on this one, because in addition to having to fight the kaiju deathcrab, I had to do some non-Euclidean electrical engineering.

Not only that, but they apparently decided, hey – just being difficult is too easy; let’s also flat out mislead these fools!

Because it turns out that while building a generator is easy, you need some way to connect everything – and that is never explained, clarified, or shown as an option anywhere.  So it’s only natural that you’d see something called a “distrubted power pylon” and think you should somehow make use of it.


Nearly everything else in the game requires the pylon, so of course they’ll teach you to use it by having you build one of the two things that doesn’t.  And just to reinforce the lesson, the next thing you have to build is the second thing that doesn’t require it.

The lesson being, of course, “Fallout hates you and wants you to die.”

So I’m sitting there with my generator belching smoke into the Boston sky, and I flip the power switch on the radio and mutter to myself “this will work if I can get power to it,” because apparently I didn’t already know that, because apparently the game knows I have a drinking problem.

There must be some way to connect the generator to the radio … if only I had some wires, but those aren’t part of the workshop build options …

Now, after you read the internet, it will helpfully inform you that if you’d just read the options on the generator menu itself, one of them said

press space to run wire

but since that is thus far the one and only time you have to do something different in the workshop besides “select, place, build” it’s kind of like one of those tests where they tell you to read all the directions first and at the end you don’t write anything?  And then they always say you failed because you wrote your name and date on it, like you’ve been conditioned to since birth?  F that.

Lesson learned.  Lesson being, “Fallout hates you and wants you to die.”

I pressed space.  I got me some wire, with a nice sparky end on it, like the time the Honorio cut the end of an extension cord and didn’t tell me until after I plugged it in.  Good times, good times.

So … where do I put this here wire?  The tutorial is still telling me to “build something that requires power” even though I have an entire shack that requires power, because the tutorial is f@cking stupid.  I tried putting it “in the shack” – no luck.  Okay, the wire connector thing on the roof?  Was that there, or did I build that later?  I can’t remember.  Damn you, dollar beer night!   Anyway, no luck.   I tried putting the wire on Preston’s head, but that didn’t work, although it was kinda funny.  Did some electro-play on the mirelurk queen, but she was a cold fish.

Finally, through sheer trial and error, I connected one generator to the other –

oh, did I mention you need two generators?  Sorry about that.  Yeah – the radio takes 10 power, and a medium generator puts out 5, and it takes a rank in science, plus sufficient raw materials to manufacture a battleship, to build a large generator.

Also, you can only hook up one thing to another, so you can’t run both wires to the same point.  At least, that I’ve been able to tell.

All of which is helpfully explained in the tutorial … HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA


So … wire from generator 1 to generator 2,


then a second wire from generator 2 to a power connector on the radio itself.  I know people sometimes come here looking for answers to Fallout questions, which probably isn’t very helpful, so apologize in advance when I say I can’t remember if I built the power connector or it was already there:


Which got Freedom Radio up and running, and more importantly, got Piper to “like” me.  Sigh … if only it were that easy on a Friday night at the casino.  Actually, considering the Oscilliscope Incident from Physics 111, that might be a bad idea.  Never mind.  Forget I said anything.

Now that I had the hang of this wire thing, I thought I’d drop by Hangman’s Alley and built a radio transmitter.


I already figured the power pylon wouldn’t work, ’cause I’m a savvy Fallout player, but I spent an hour trying to get the wire to connect to the damn radio transmitter, only to finally realize that I’d placed it in just the perfect angle that the game wouldn’t recognize it as a valid wire run.  Because, you know, wire runs are not something anyone who plays video games would ever have experience with in real life, so there’s no way we’d be playing video games to escape that sort of thing.  Next thing you know, they’re gonna have a Tax Simulator game.




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