The Tesla cannon is a pre-War, portable, directable energy weapon. It was designed to be used as a lightweight, compact anti-tank weapon. The design was named after Nikola Tesla, whose designs for the technology were seized by the U.S. government after his death. When used, the cannon projects a blast that will damage the enemy on impact. It will continue to gradually reduce the enemy's health due to its ability to electrify the target and its surroundings.
The Tesla-Beaton prototype appears to be similar to the Tesla cannon, but with an orange glow instead of blue, and a fully encased energy emitter. It also has several exposed wires and various lights attached to the casing, giving it a more makeshift appearance. Prior to patch 220.127.116.112, each shot expended 45 electron charge packs, but it now expends 6 electron charge packs per shot, with a magazine capacity of 24. Also, the patch removed the prototype's AOE blast damage. Unlike the original Tesla cannon, it only has half the HP. This is likely due to it being in the prototype stage. Because of this issue, the need for constant repair makes it a less practical weapon for repeated use.
The Tesla-Beaton prototype is one of the most expensive weapons to repair to 100% from poor condition at over 20,000 caps, rivaling Gatling lasers and plasma casters.
The glow on the outside shows the arcing electricity to be orange in color, but if looking down the barrel in third person, it looks green. Whether this was intentional is unknown.
Because the Tesla-Beaton uses 6 electron charge packs per shot, it's only possible to get 1 empty electron charge pack from firing the Beaton, the same with all energy weapons that use more than 1 cell per shot.
Due to it previously firing only 1 shot per reload, it ejects electron charge packs every shot, which is strange, considering only one is loaded. Also, the electron charge pack will not appear after one shot is fired, and the end of the cannon is retracted, but it still ejects another per shot.
The Tesla cannon was originally to be featured in the canceled Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel 2, bearing no resemblance to the weapon in Broken Steel. Described as a "high-powered mass-cannon throwing tessellated plasma forward in an orgy of death and destruction" in the Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel 2 design document, it was to be the so-called "uber-weapon" of player character Maxus. "Uber-weapons" were to be unique weapons for each player character which had to be assembled from 5 parts over the course of the game, or the player could have a NPC assemble one for them. One of the five parts for this weapon was a Tesla coil.
Nikola Tesla really did try to create a directed energy weapon but it would have been a particle beam weapon called a "Teleforce," something that would be immensely complicated to create.
xbox360ps3pc Sometimes the robots surrounding the Crashed Vertibird will not appear. If reloading a save near the crash site after picking up the weapon the robots will spawn all around you. [verified]
ps3 In some cases, the clear encasing on the cannon will not show the Tesla coil animation and instead always stay glowing orange, reloading a saved game or fast traveling will fix this. [verified]
ps3xbox360 After patch 1.5/18.104.22.1684, when looking from third person, the Tesla-Beaton prototype will eject the electron charge pack in the back of the cannon after the first shot, and then seemingly eject electron charge packs out of nowhere during any shots after the first one. This can be remedied by reloading after each shot, though it is not recommended. [verified]