TARDIS Technical Index

Control Rooms

Diagram of a TARDIS Console

"Well, I must congratulate you. This is really a most splendid machine. I do notice there's been a few changes though?" "Oh yes, Doctor. In fact this one is fitted with automatic drift control." - The Doctor and The Monk

A Control Room is located in the Control Sphere. It is the nerve centre of a TARDIS and serves as the bridge or cockpit. It takes 95% of a TARDIS's processor power to comprehend the universe from its operator's three dimensional point of view, and thus understand what the operator wants it to do. To reduce errors and miss communications all major functions and almost all minor ones can be monitored and controlled from the time and space mechanisms in this room.

A TARDIS Console RoomThe design of this Control Room is a three-dimensional model of a TARDIS's 4 dimensional Heart. Dominating the centre of every Control Room since the Type 20 TARDIS is a large free-standing Master Control Console. Most (if not all) of these timeships are designed to be operated with six pilots. At least one, if not all, of them should be Time Lords who are symbiotically linked to the TARDIS. This is why almost all control assemblies have 6 sides. The console is equipped with numerous controls, read-out displays and screens. Some consoles are equipped with a central Time Column that provides continual data on the Dynamorphic Generators. The casing of the Control Console is resistant to time winds that would badly damage even a Time Lord. Most of the controls are made of steel or plastic. The console is directly connected to a TARDIS's power source.

Inside, their biomechanical and tri-gamma circuitry is held together with Mergin Nuts. Laser operated relays transmit light along fibre optic cabling. The Heisenberg Circuits control a console's form and structure and are quite useful during bicentennial refits. If the psychosculpture illusion of the Environmental Metaphor's Desktop Theme is relaxed the Control Console appears to be a multidimensional "thing" that would drive lesser species insane. The Heisenberg Circuits are capable of reducing or increasing the total number of panels if desired.

Each of the six panels or "stations" on a console is assigned a number. However these numbers can be assigned clockwise or counter-clockwise depending on the Mark number of the Console. Each of these six panels has a standard designation that is independent of the number, which varies from refit to refit. The official designation of each panel dates back to the Time of Legend.

Tradition keeps this terminology in use even though modern console designs varies greatly from those original classifications. The following list outlines the controls found on each type of panels. For lists of the alterations and variations found for different desk-top themes and differ marks of refit see the sections Desk-Top Themes and Refits.

Communications

More accurately known as the Exterior Monitor Panel, it usually had the following controls…

Diagnostic

More accurately known as the Internal Ship Systems Panel it has Auxiliary Support Systems. This panel usually has the following controls…

Fabrication

More accurately known as the Information Systems Panel it
usually has the following controls…

Helm

More accurately known as the Dematerialization Systems Panel it has controls for the drive systems that function when the TARDIS is dematerialized. It also has advanced navigational controls that can be brought into play during exceptional circumstances. This panel usually has the following controls…

Mechanical

More accurately known as the Master Control Panel, it has overrides, reprogramming, and cross-connect controls for all of the (usually automatic), TARDIS systems. This panel usually has the following controls…

Navigation

This panel contains the coordinate input controls, basic navigation and steerage systems. This panel usually has the following controls…

Normally the panel with the Main Door Control is the one closest to the Main Doors, but the Console can be set to rotate if the operator would prefer a different orientation. The console can be reconfigured to alter the location of the instruments and controls if the operator desires. A switch on each panel triggers the opening of the panel for easy access to the internal components and circuits. Entire panels can be swapped around to match a configuration that the operator would prefer. It is possible that all the controls of a console are labelled in a way that can only be "seen" using one of a Time Lord's 22 temporal senses.

TARDIS Databank keyboardFor more complex or lengthy programming a larger and easier to use data-bank keyboard can be extended out of a control panel using a switch located beneath the console. If the Isomorphic Security System has been set, then only the proper Time Lord may use the controls. Parts (or all) of the console can be electrified using the Immobilizer Switch. A digital TARDIS manual can be accessed from the console by pressing a button marked "Manual". The interior lights can be controlled from a switch on the console and can be raised to painful brightness.

TARDIS technology interfaceTARDIS technology interface TARDISes can interface with lower tech devices (such as image translators, radios and cell phones) fairly easily and a large collection of sockets and connectors can be found beneath a hatch on the console.

The Main Doors are always located in the active control room. From the Control Room the Time Lord operator can access the rest of the TARDIS via a dimensional bridge which leads to the Core Service Module. The Master Control Console can be made to appear outside the TARDIS's Exo-Shell if the operator uses the Architectural Configuration Program to locate the Console outside on the end of a dimensional juncture link. Once configured in this manner the Console can be physically transported independently from the rest of the TARDIS and yet still maintain its link. Travelling the Vortex with just a console and no proper exo or endo shell is very dangerous. The console can be used to form a spherical materialization field around it when it travels, but protection is minimal. It is recommended that safety belts be worn.

The pedestal the console is attached to is called the Console Stem. There is a slot in the console's stem for playing large data cartridges as well as a computer interface plug behind a panel. The power outlet sockets are located beneath the Power Monitor Panel on the Console. They can instantly adapt to the power needs of any apparatus requiring energy. Using the TARDIS's power conduits some types of space ships can be recharged. This takes 3-4 hours.

If the operators are expecting a large amount of turbulence, Safety Belts (also known as seatbelts) can be connected to the Master Control Console and hold the operators next to the console. If there are more then six crew members then two padded couches with safety belts can extend out of the wall by activating a switch on the Control Console. In an emergency Oxygen Masks supplied by tubes will drop from the ceiling. There will be one mask for each crew member

Hexagonal power sourceA large hexagonal Power Source hangs above the Master Control Console. It collects unused Artron Energy from the central column and recycles it back into the transpower systems. A switch on the panel closest to the door lowers the device to assist with regenerations by providing Artron Energy to the crew member.

A bed in the console roomThere is also an bed that can be extended out of the wall, for use when the Source is in operation. While active the lights will strobe and a high pitch screech will be heard. This piece of TARDIS technology is considered to be a vital part of regeneration for without this assistance regenerations are much more random and recovery takes much longer. It should be noted that excessive bursts of regeneration energy (say, caused by a the regeneration of Time Lord who had died of extreme radiation poisoning), can exceed the source's collection capabilities, and destroy the control room.

All TARDISes created after the Type 24 have more then one control room. These other control rooms all occupy the same space but each is located in different time phase. They can be reached by travelling through the TARDIS's pedestrian infrastructure, but for safety purposes, there's always about 2.4 to 4.8 miles of corridor between the Secondary (or Number 2 Control Room) and Primary Control Rooms. The Main Door can be shifted from one Control Room to another from any of the console rooms or from the outside using a TARDIS key.

NOTE: For information and pictures of the various console refits and how they can be customized, see the Desktop Themes in the Environmental Systems Chapter and the Refits and Upgrades Chapter.

Color Key

The following color code is used:

  • Black: For information from the TV Series, including Dimensions in Time, and 1996 TV Movie.
  • Blue: For information from the Novels and Audios including Target, Virgin, BCC, and Big Finish.
  • Green: For information from 'licensed' reference sources such as the Technical Manual, Doctor Who Magazine, and the Role Playing Games.
  • Red: For information from unofficial sources -The Faction Paradox series, behind the scenes interviews, author's speculation, and popular fan belief.
  • The TARDIS Technical Index is copyright Will B Swift.

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