By One time
I've always wondered how the muon trap was supposed to function in universe. After the proton wand operations manual through its switches, dials, bar graph dynamics and decals was deciphered some time ago, I decided to try on the trap.

The decals on the front of the trap (used Planet Hollywood in D.C.) always fascinated me.


This is a clearer view. (Thanks DVC)


Considering those decals and switch/dial types, this operating manual makes sense to me:


OFF: Cartridge off;
Will not open with pedal unit. (Safety measure when the trap base metal flat lever switch is on)

TR: Trap;
Muon trap will continue to function after each entrapment.

WARNING: multiple entrapments prior to discharge may exceed set NRADS shielding limit and cause malfunction.
Trapping speed in this mode exceeds ADF mode performance.

TR+G: Trap + Guard;
Muon trap will lock the cartridge after single entrapment until discharged into containment unit. Single use only. Subsequent entrapments will require an empty cartridge fitted.
Trapping speed in this mode exceeds ADF mode performance.

ADF: Auto Detect Function;
Muon trap will attempt to auto-detect the spectral PKE level and convert to NRADS shielding required upon opening, prior to each entrapment. This auto trapping function prevents the trap from exceeding net radiation shielding tolerance limits and malfunctioning.

Auto detection of field causes slower entrapment performance compared to TR and TR+G modes.

WARNING: Trap may not function if detected PKE level (and equivalent NRADS shielding requirement) above trap exceeds current stored NRADS absorption limit and close without entrapment. Replace filled cartridge and attempt entrapment again.


SYNC: Sync the Muon trap cartridge to trap base.

Rotate anti-clockwise for 2 seconds and release. The yellow LED next to the bargraph will flash before extinguishing with audible signal to indicate successful sync with empty cartridge.

If LED remains yellow, cartridge synced is not empty but can be reused depending on NRADS level (shown on bargraph). If LED glows red return muon trap and cartridge for maintenance.


NRADS: Net ionizing radiation dose absorption limit per second. This is the spectral radiation absorption limit the muon trap can shield against (trap) at its current level of charge. It is the confinement power level of the muon trap. The more power used, the shorter the storage time, but the more (total) amount of PKE that can be contained.

Containing PKE charged entities requires ionizing radiation. Manual adjustment is available to balance overall NRADS limit against storage time.

Lower NRADS shielded allows for longer storage. Higher NRADS shielded shortens storage time but allows containment of higher PKE entities.

Pull dial and rotate dial clockwise to increase maximum NRADS limit. Rotate anti clockwise to decrease. The bargraph on cartridge will indicate level set. Push dial to lock.

WARNING: Muon trap autonomous activity after successful entrapment (e.g. vibration, shaking, electric discharge, etc.) denotes contained PKE level approaching defined NRADS shielding limits. Also indicated by maximized yellow bar graph.


MAN: Manual; Manually set NRADS shielding limit of trap using NRADS dial on front of trap.

PRE: Preset; Select from multiple NRADS presets using NRADS dial. Rotating dial clockwise will select presets Auto, 1-10. Auto will attempt to balance NRADS required against remaining trap charge. Bar graph will indicate selected preset.

GD: Guard/Lock. Override NRADS level for TR+G mode. (NRADS shielding limit is usually set to maximum for Guard mode)

Yellow bar graph:
Indicates the current storage level in relation to the defined maximum NRADS limit.

For normal operation the muon trap should be set to ADF and PRE (Auto).


Round Dial on left of trap (-5, +5). Marker indicates 0. Entrapment occurs when a field of ionised radiation is created inside a cone shaped area using hollow laser beams. This field is calibrated upon opening of the trap, to the specific PKE quantity of the entity detected.

Rotate clockwise to increase entrapment cone size. Rotate counter clockwise to decrease cone size. A wider cone will entrap over a larger area but dilute entrapment NRADS. A focused cone will allow trapping higher charged entities but require more precision in guiding the entity to the exact muon trap opening.


Teardrop Dial on right of trap. Allows storage and selection of predefined presets each with individual cone and NRADS limits.

The muon trap works by creating a field of ionized radiation (by muon decay) inside a cone shaped area enforced by hollow laser beams. This field is calibrated in NRADS upon opening of the trap, to the specific PKE quantity of the entity detected.

The conic field is subsequently enclosed, decreased in size and steered into the shielding area of the cartridge. The trap charge level determines how much ionising radiation it can safely absorb (NRADS), and for how long, while containing the PKE quantity inside it. The higher the (total) PKE level contained within the trap, the more ionising radiation shielding is required and the faster the charge will drain.

The trap creates a field of ionized radiation using muon decay for a specific reason. Due to their greater mass, muons are not as sharply accelerated when they encounter electromagnetic fields, and do not emit as much deceleration radiation. This allows muons of a given energy to maintain a conic entrapment field (steered by hollow lasers) which is undisturbed by weather conditions or any objects between the trap opening and the entity.

Because charge must be conserved, one of the products of muon decay is always an electron of the same charge as the muon. Additional other particles that have no net charge and spin of zero are also produced (a pair of photons, and an electron-positron pair).

This causes the conic entrapment field to take on a pinkish hue with electrons produced by the muon decay resembling sparks of a light blue color inside it.
Last edited by One time on June 15th, 2018, 5:22 am, edited 20 times in total.
I'm kinda in love with this. That said I might not have read right, but are you suggesting that with the right power power level and settings, a trap and catch a ghost, and then be deployed again to catch another ghost, without releasing the first ghost?
By One time
I'm kinda in love with this. That said I might not have read right, but are you suggesting that with the right power power level and settings, a trap and catch a ghost, and then be deployed again to catch another ghost, without releasing the first ghost?

Thanks, appreciate it ;)

Yes that was my understanding of the decals the prop builders used when they made this prop.

TR (Trap): The simplest trapping function. The trap doesn't lock after an entrapment and the user can keep pressing the pedal and attempt to trap more entities. As many as desired. We see this in the movies and cartoons a number of times.

The problem is that eventually the amount of entities caught -and the amount of ionising radiation that is required to contain them inside the trap (NRADS)- is too much for the charge level of the trap and it may fail. That's when a trap starts shaking and sparking, it means the combined PKE level of the entities inside it is close to the set NRADS (containment power) limit.

That's why we see traps "charging" in the firehouse when not in use. They have to charge up, because the battery charge is used to enable the trap to withstand the radiation absorption limit required to contain PKE charged entities.

Think of a smartphone that is able to make its screen brighter depending on the battery level. The higher the battery charge the brighter the screen can be set. Same with the trap, the more charge, the higher the radiation it can withstand while containing PKE charged entities. Though you might not want to set a fully charged trap to the maximum containment power (NRADS) while there is only an insignificant CLASS I NON-SENTIENT MANIFESTATION inside it. It's overkill. Sure, the trap won't shake or spark at all because the containment power is far too strong for the small PKE energy inside it, but the battery charge won't last very long. And it will sit there humming like crazy. It would be like running a smart phone on full screen brightness at night time.

TR +G (Trap + Guard): In this mode the trap locks after a single entrapment and "guards" the contents. To use it again the cartridge needs to be emptied into the containment unit first. We see this in the movies and cartoons as well.

An experienced Ghostbuster may use this mode to trap a particularly powerful entity with a designated trap. Usually the TR +G mode is set to maximum containment power (NRADS). So in a tight situation with a powerful entity suddenly appearing, the Ghostbuster can prime a trap for MAXIMUM containment power with the flick of a single switch without losing time. Or a specific member may carry this designated trap and be called upon to be the one to lay the trap in a certain situation.

Alternatively this mode would be used in training for a beginner to prevent mishaps, accidental release after entrapment, etc. Because after entrapment the trap will not open again using the pedal in this mode.

ADF (Auto Detect Field/Function) labbeled as ATF (Auto Trap Function) on some traps:

In this mode the trap (upon opening) attempts to analyse the PKE level of the entity that is hovering above it. It then compares it to the combined PKE of what is already inside the trap from previous captures, compares that to the charge level, sets the containment power (NRADS) automatically, and traps the entity. No need to set anything manually. The trap will balance itself and attempt to make its battery charge last as long as possible.

If it decides that the current charge level and what is inside the trap already is too much PKE, it will simply close shut without capturing the entity.

Because of this auto detect process, ADF mode is much slower in trapping than TR and TR+G modes.

You could say TR mode is for the experienced Ghostbuster on a routine bust. TR +G mode is for emergencies and ADF mode is for an intermediate level Ghostbuster, which is perhaps why the Rookie in GB:TVG appears to run his trap in ADF mode.
Last edited by One time on June 15th, 2018, 5:30 am, edited 9 times in total.
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