Proton Pack


The Ghostbusters wear “unlicensed particle accelerators” to shoot a stream of energy from an attached gun. Usefully, this positively-charged stream of energy can bind ghosts. The Pack is the size of a large camper’s backpack and is worn like one. The Proton pack must be turned on and warmed up before use. Its switch, oddly, is on the back, where the user cannot get to it themselves.


This makes for some awesome comedy, but is sorely unusable. If a ghostbuster was alone, he’d have to remove the pack to get at the switch. It also means that a sneaky antagonist could approach from behind and disable the thing mid-busting. Not the wisest design. Better would be to put this switch on the pack on a lower, anterior corner so the ghostbuster can switch it himself.

To prevent accidental activation you’d want to recess the switch in the housing, and maybe even require a button hold or a two-hand trip for extra security.


There is a display that lets an observer know that the pack is working. It’s a column of blue LEDs that continually progresses upward. Similar to the activation switch, this signal should be placed so that the actual wearer can see it in use, and so that the signal isn’t blared to everyone standing behind him, lest it die and the Ghostbuster need to bluff to buy time.

7 thoughts on “Proton Pack

    • I don’t know. The first time a scientist realized that he/she couldn’t reach the power, they’d have to imagine a next version.

  1. Pingback: Ghost trap | Sci-fi interfaces

  2. I got the impression that that activation was a one-time event. They had never used the packs before (which Ray and Egon had already noted).

    I suspect that the power cell is some sort of “once it’s started it doesn’t go off until it runs down” affair. In the sequel, Egon noted that the source “has a half-life of 5,000 years”, meaning there is some sort of reaction taking place. Or perhaps it’s some form of RTG set up using an isotope as fuel.

  3. Look up the neutrona wand switches. The cyclotron (proton pack) can be switched on from the pack or from the neutrona wand. The wand has switches (1. generator start, 2. auxilliary systems start (lights, bargraphs, etc), 3. ACTIVATE activates cyclotron), extend barrel safety lever, 4. INTENSIFY to fire).

    The bargraph on the wand has 5 circles next to it to illustrate the current power output (no stream, quarter stram, half stream, three quarter stream, full stream).

    There’s also the positron output dial on the wand with +1, +2, +3 markings to change the positron stream power to half, three quarter and full stream respectively.

    The wand also features a barrel rotation feature to prime all switches, and extend the barrel safety, all in one go in an emergency.

    The power source includes Curium as nuclear fuel and is capable of 1.5 megawatts of output.

    • Thanks for the heads up on extra-diegetic references! I try to use only what’s in the film itself to do reviews though.

Leave a Reply