A micro atomic-grade EMP

For more information on capacitors, see here. For Nukapedia's pages on similar subject matter, see pages [1], [2], [3], & [4].

Atomic-grade capacitors are electronic equipment capable of absorbing the electromagnetic pulse (EMP) of an atomic explosion. Their grade comes from their vast breakdown voltage that can withstand EMPs from atomic bombs.  This potency and strength are due to its MaSMA composition, the same reason for its post-apocalyptic longevity.

However, the pre-war capacitors were not designed with enough MaSMA to withstand continuous use. The trace amounts of MaSMA will vaporize if the capacitor absorbs too much energy and the capacitor will be rendered inoperable and the materials lost.


In Motown, atomic-grade capacitors are rarer and harder to find than in other regions. This is due to the fact that the factions vying for Motown have used up many of them in their past conflicts. The Aware used up their supplies against the forces of the Calculator as the Midwest Brotherhood of Steel, the Forces of Ronto eliminated their surviving supply of pulse weaponry following their victory over the warlords as per their torch-and-burn strategems, and the Motown Enterprise sells their stockpiles to Road Raiders, to deal with their mutual threats, who can scarecly afford the Enterprise's prices.

History and Develpoment

240px-Pulse Field

Pulse field devised by China

Atomic-grade capacitors were invented after the discovery of MaSMA in 2066 -and before the Great War- to protect the United States of America's growing service deployment of robotic peacekeepers, technology hubs, and data stores.

China was the first to use the capacitors offensively. In order to fend off the United States's fleet of robotic and power armored troops being deployed against them during their occupation of Alaska, China fashioned the capacitors into grenades, mines, and even entire fields of pulse energy.

Despite it being illegal to own or operate offense-oriented capacitors in the US, anti-robotic sentiments among the already prevalent war hysteria of the American people were enough reason for many to smuggle or manufacture such devices for personal protection or criminal intention. As a result, many in America can find EMP weapons in homes and corporations as contraband and in military installations as confiscated goods.

Defense-oriented capacitors were installed in every robot, turret, and any other piece of electronic equipment deemed too important to lose in the event of nuclear war. Such devices in the post-war world do not yield usable capacitors when destroyed because they were fried from the EMPs released during the Great War.

Advanced robots with better integrated capacitors will yield usable atomic-grade capacitors that have long sinced absorbed EMPs from the war and drained them for increased service-length.

Pulse weapons

Although pulse weaponry is highly effective against electronic equipment, it is virtually inert towards organic life or biological processes.

However, individuals who are implanted will suffer immediate health risks as a result of being unprotected from pulse damage such as nullifying the benefits of the implants or even reversing them into degrading effects. Damage to health and a higher propensity for effected organs to get crippled are also common side effects.

Pulse grenade


The pulse grenade is a hand-thrown, fully charged, atomic-grade capacitor charged for the sole purpose of being lobbed at electronic devices to detonate and destroy them with an EMP.

The grenade sports an impressive range for its size and will completely fry the circuitry of any typical robot in one or two grenades.

Power armored foes represent a far greater challenge as standard power armor is generally more resilient to pulse damage -relying less on circuity to operate- and because the humans who operate it are sometimes devious enough to prepare for pulse damage in the use of pulse dampeners.

Pulse mine


The pulse mine is a charged, ground-based, atomic-grade capacitor charged for the sole purpose of defending a location against the proximity of mobile electronic opponents such as robots or power armored troops. Like all mines, pulse mines deal more of its specified damage than its grenade counterpart.

Although a detonator with a resonance amplifier modification is necessary to detonate mines where they are planted, one can simply shoot them -as well as target them in VATS- for similar effect.

Pulse dampener

A pulse dampener is an uncharged/discharged atomic grade capacitor that remains ready to absorb an EMP. They are rendered inoperable after absorbing too much EMP damage but can be discharged for re-use and for energy recycling.

Many can be found intact within unexposed, hibernating, or refurbished robots.

Factions and subfactions that have experience with pre-war power armor, such as the Brotherhood of Steel and their splinter factions, frequently carry dampeners with them into battle against opponents exploiting pulse technology.

The Brotherhood, in particular, favors them as a source for free energy cell recharge in the field. They have devised armor mods where dampeners discharge into the weapon of the holder to streamline this.

Advanced Dampener

An advanced dampener is an atomic-grade capacitor reinforced with the addiction of more MaSMA onto the pre-existing MaSMA. Not only can it absorb an atomic-grade EMP but it also does not get destroyed in the process of absorbing excess EMPs, allowing the operator to charge into electromagnetic fields (EMF) without having to worry about inefficient capacitor usage.

Advanced dampeners cannot be found and need to be crafted using extra MaSMA.

The Enclave incorporates advanced dampening systems into their newly developed advanced power armor designs. These suits are capable of absorbing one atomic-grade EMP before requiring discharge outside of combat. Tesla armor, on the other hand, can discharge its advanced capacitor immediately in the form of a Tesla field. The Tesla field provides immense energy and pulse resistance as well as providing a boost to energy and pulse thresholds. Radiation resistance is marginally improved by radiation threshold is left unaffected.

A MaSMA suit outfitted with an advanced dampening system operates in the same manner across all resistances and thresholds sans gas resistance, fire resistance, and fire threshold.


  • Weaponized capacitors can be discharged slowly to drain them and allow them to function as dampeners. The discharged energy can then be recycled into energy weapon ammunition.
  • One of the reasons that the NCR rips servo motors out of their captured power armor suits is because of the sheer volume of pulse weaponry used alongside the deployment of NCR heavy troopers against the Brotherhood of Steel.
  • Due to its rarity, pulse weapons and dampeners can be converted into each other with sufficient energy recycling/generation and skill.
  • Trace amounts of MaSMA can be gleaned from disassembling atomic-grade capacitors.