TARDIS Technical Index

Refitting a TARDIS

The Doctor refitting his TARDIS

Originally there was no easy method of upgrading a TARDIS. Indeed the Type 30 design remained unchanged for millions of years. However in the most recent Gallifreyan generation, Time Lord engineers finally became more innovative in TARDIS design. A much wider variety of TARDISes were designed, with new model being released approximately every 2 centuries. Because each model of TARDIS would become obsolete in a less then a millennium, a method was developed to refit existing capsules, making it possible to upgrade the master control console and associated systems to match newer designs. For example the Type 40 TARDIS was originally equipped with a Mark I console. But, once the refit to Mark III specifications is complete, it is possible to install Mark III hardware in a Type 40.

The Time Lords had developed their refit protocol to a considerable level. Indeed, rather than purchase newer models of TARDIS, many Time Lords preferred older, more experienced, models that had a recent refit. By the time the Doctor was about 200 the Type 45 had been put into production, but the refitted Type 35s received much greater respect from the traditionalists. The refit process even worked on TARDIS models created before the current renaissance of timeship engineering, and Mark II and III refits were being tried out on Type 30s. At least one Type 18 has been successfully refitted to have Mark I capabilities.

However the Refits didn't upgrade all systems, for example, many of the updated capsules still had Chameleon Circuits that were more limited then those found on a Type 40. Things finally came to a head sometime before the assassination of Lord President Eldhind, when all Type 40 and earlier TT Capsules were de-registered and made non-operational.

While the availability of upgrades has varied over the last millennium, it is recommended that, at minimum, a TARDIS receive a bicentennial refit. Refit instructions are sent to capsules in the field using a signal from Gallifrey. Update packages would usually carry the instructions "Install Immediately."

Once the proper information signal has been received by the TARDIS, the operator only needs to activate the upgrade. In most cases, the refit can be accomplished automatically by the TARDIS. During this time the TARDIS will place a sign on the door to secondary control room that says "Closed for refurbishment." Once the setting is changed, it appears to take several months for the TARDIS to upgrade a control room. During this time the Primary Control Room can still be used. As one might expect, such refits usually involve significant changes to the Master Control Console. A side effect of this system is that, given time, a TARDIS can rebuild/grow new control rooms to replace one that has been destroyed.

Sometimes various components for a refit, such as the Mark III Emergency Transceiver, will arrive separately and need to be manually installed into the reconfigured console. In most cases the technology is backward compatible so that technology from earlier Marks can be used on consoles running later Marks. They are not, however, forward compatible. Attempts to use hardware from later Marks on earlier model of console will often fail to work at all. At best, the component will burn out after only a few uses. This is because of the increased power demands of the more advanced circuitry. Depending on the component in question, a sudden burn-out could even destroy the more primitive TARDIS.

It should also be noted that an older TARDIS can only be upgraded so far before implementing such modifications becomes dangerous to the TARDIS, and sometimes even the operator himself. Indeed some operators using modern refits have chosen to restore a Mark III configuration.

NOTE: The layout of controls on each of the six panels can be assumed to follow the default layout listed in Control Rooms except where noted. For information and pictures of the various Desktop Themes available for use in the Primary Control Room see Desktop Themes.

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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