How to Use Power in Fallout 4

An important factor in keeping many settlement components functioning smoothly is power!

Fallout 4’s workshop has several objects that require electricity (and a specific amount of it) in order to run: light sources, water purifiers, and automated defenses, for example.

This electricity is provided by Generators which can be found in the Power section of the workshop menu.

All power-dependent objects will display a lightning bolt icon and some will have a number beside it. You will see this information when placing or hovering over them. Red color will indicate that the device is unpowered and is not functioning.

The number, meanwhile, indicates the amount of power that is needed for the object to operate. Small light sources will require as little as 1 power, while larger devices like a water purifier will require 5.

Little note on the output: You will quickly realize this yourself, but the output number indicates the total amount of power a Generator can produce; it does not indicate a type of a device it can support. I.e., a Small Generator can only run three lights that require one power each.

fallout 4 settlement power power generator
Generator – Small3WorkshopGear (2), Steel (4), Rubber (2), Copper (2), Ceramic (1)
Generator – Medium5WorkshopScrew (3), Gear (3), Steel (7), Rubber (3), Copper (3), Ceramic (1)
Generator – Large10Workshop, “Science!” Rank 1Gear (6), Screw (5), Rubber (4), Copper (10), Aluminum (12), Nuclear Material (3)
Generator – Windmill3WorkshopSteel (15), Copper (4), Aluminum (10), Gear (2)

The highest power output from a generator is 10 in the base game, but can go up to 500 with additional options from the “Vault-Tec Workshop” DLC.

Vault-Tec reactors require more resources and open space in your settlement, but have the ability to power floors and walls that have a direct connection to it — even without cables. All you need is an electrical outlet attached to the connected wall.

Vault-Tec TypeOutputRequirementsMaterials
Fusion Generator100Workshop, “Science!” Rank 4Aluminum (25), Copper (20), Crystal (8), Gears (12), Nuclear material (12), Rubber (2), Screw (10)
Vault-Tec Reactor150Workshop, Lady Luck Completed*Aluminum (15), Ceramic (10), Copper (10), Nuclear material (40), Rubber (15), Steel (15)
Vault-Tec Super Reactor500Workshop, Lady Luck Completed*Aluminum (30), Ceramic (15), Copper (20), Nuclear material (100), Rubber (30), Steel (30)

*Vault-Tec reactors are limited to Vault 88 until you complete the “Lady Luck” quest in the DLC.

There are a few ways you can provide power for your devices, both through direct wiring and within a radius (a “sphere of power”): we will discuss these methods below.

Sadly, merely placing a Generator next to the devices you want to power will not work in Fallout 4.

You will either need to directly wire the Generator to devices that require a certain amount of power, or otherwise wire it to objects that generate a “sphere of power” (Pylons and Conduits) for powering devices with a low energy requirement.

  • All objects that have a number next to the power icon require a wire connected directly to them from a power source. (See “Direct Wiring” section below.)
  • If an object has an icon showing it needs power, but no number beside it, it will function as long as it is within the range of a Power Pylon or a Conduit. (See “Using Pylons and Conduits” section below.)

The simplest form of power connection is the direct wiring between the Generator and a device.

To do it, have both of the devices placed down. While in the Workshop mode, hover over a generator and select “Attach Wire” (space if you are on PC). You will see a wire stretching out and producing a spark, which you can “pull” with you within a limited distance.

fallout 4 settlement power wiring device to generator direct wiring

While holding on to the wire, you will see that the objects that can be powered are highlighted white. As soon as you hover over the device you wanted to connect, the wire will snap to it. Then, press “Attach Wire” again.

If you supplied enough power, the object should get powered up immediately.

If you hover over some of the objects, you might notice that they require power to operate but do not provide an amount: you will see this on a lot of light sources, such as street and table lamps.

These devices aren’t powered by wires. For these, you have to utilize Pylons and Conduits which wirelessly power anything within a small radius so long as the conduits themselves are connected to the generator.

Power Pylons are placed on the ground, typically outdoors. You can place devices nearby Pylons instead of needing to wire each object to it. If you want your Pylon to cover a bigger radius, use the large Power Pylon.

Same goes for the Conduits, which are the indoor version of the Pylon. These can be places on walls, floors, and ceilings. You can also place them on the outer walls of buildings.

Tip: You can get a feel for a conduit’s radius by moving a light source around it. If it’s within the conduits range, the item will physically light up, but turn off if you go too far.
You will notice that Pylons and Conduits cover the length of about two walls in all directions.

Power Pylon
Copper (2), Wood (2), Ceramic (1), Steel (1)
Power Pylon – Large
Copper (4), Ceramic (3), Steel (8), Rubber (1)
Power Conduit 1
Copper (2), Ceramic (2), Steel (2)
Power Conduit 2
Copper (2), Ceramic (2), Steel (2)
Power Conduit 3
Copper (2), Ceramic (2), Steel (2)

Switches are the perfect addition to your power grid, controlling a power flow through the wire.

They work pretty intuitively: connect a wire from the Generator to the Switch, and then wire the switch to the object, Pylon, or Conduit. Then, have fun flipping it on and off and admiring your work!

fallout 4 settlement power switches

Of course, this is just the traditional type of the switch — you can have some great fun playing with other types inside your settlement:

Type of the Switch
Turn on and off by interacting.
Pressure Plate
Lets power through when pressed down.
Laser Tripwire
Activates when something passes through the laser.
Delayed Off Switch
Press button to activate; deactivates after a set time.
Delayed On Switch
Press button to deactivate; activates after a set time.
Interval Switch
Will activate and deactivate based on the set interval.
Power Counter
Activates after a set amount of time has passed.

To play with most of these switches, install the Terminal between the Generator and the powered device or Pylon/Conduit that it connects to. Integrate it between the two devices with wires and open up its menu.

Tip: Compared to Pylons and Conduits, Switches have about one wall length worth of a radius.

Pylons and Conduits have another functionality they can offer: creating a power grid.

It is important to note that there is a limit to how far you can run a wire. You can extend the distance of your generator’s reach with Pylons and Conduits by continuously running a wire from your generators and then between each Pylon/Conduit, creating a line or even branching out — like a real-life power grid!

If (when, that is) you come across an object that requires more than 10 power points to operate, you’ll be happy to learn that it is possible to combine multiple generators with wires and increase their total power output.

You will be able to run a wire between each generator’s built-in conduit (pointy thing): once you have enough power, simply connect the line to your objects or to your power grid, and you’re ready to go!

Fallout 4 Connecting A Wire Between Two Generators
Connecting a Wire Between Two Generators

Circuitry in Fallout 4 can be as simple as hooking multiple objects up directly to a generator, or as complicated as a detailed network of Pylons, Switches, and Conduits running throughout your settlement, all intertwined within a web of wires — so have fun experimenting with different contraptions and fun ways to power your settlement!

Little Tip on Troubleshooting: If you seem to be doing everything correctly and the devices are still not powering on, try replacing your power source and the device. The game is particularly buggy when it comes to lights.

Share this article:

If I'm not working or spending time with the family I'm probably gaming. Some of my favorite recent games I've played are Far Cry 5, World of Warcraft Classic, and 7 Days to Die.

Articles: 5375
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments