Plasma Accelerator

Overview

Damage TypeWeapon Type
60% Absolute, 20% Thermal, 20% KineticProjectile
GoodNot Good
High burst damage against shields, hull, and modules. High heat, high distributor draw
60% of the damage is “absolute” which bypasses resistances.Ammo is a bit low
CMDRs who are skilled at aiming projectiles will do well with this.CMDRs who have trouble with aiming projectiles. A miss is 0 DPS.
Armor penetration is 100, so you always do full damage against hulls. The projectile is somewhat slow at baseline, which makes aiming harder.

Size Notes

All sizes of PA have the same projectile speed for better massing of fire. 
Huge PAs use a ton of energy and generate a ton of heat, but they hit like a ton of bricks. 

Powerplay

Advanced Plasma Accelerator

Large, trades lower per-shot damage for faster fire rate. 
More potential damage over time, but only if you can hit consistently. 
Spreads heat gain and distributor draw out over time, can be easier to manage. 
They aren’t bad, but trading high burst for rate of fire isn’t necessarily worth it. 

Engineering

EfficientSolves the “high heat, high distributor draw” problem and adds some damage besides. Win Win.
FocusedIncreases projectile speed for easier aiming/hitting and adds some range. The increase to AP is useless because stock PAs have 100 AP already. 
LightweightIf you need high burst damage on a mass sensitive ship.
Long RangeIncreases projectile speed for easier aiming/hitting and adds a lot of range. The increase to power usage can be difficult to fit in some ships. 
OverchargedThe extra damage is nice, but in this case the increased heat and distributor draw can be crippling. 
Rapid FireReload time drops a lot and you can fire projectiles faster, but there’s no bonus damage.
Short RangeThe “photon torpedo” of PAs. High damage and very high heat. The 1.8 km range limit is very doable for most ships. 
SturdyNo.

Experimental Effects

Dazzle ShellReduces your target’s sensor acuity…but it’s not clear if this works on NPCs
Dispersal FieldWorks like the chaff effect when you hit. A strong active defense. 
Double BracedUse module reinforcements instead.
Flow ControlFrees up a tiny bit of energy, but there are better ways to do that.
Multi-ServosThere are better ways to do more damage with PAs
OversizedIf you don’t care about other experimentals, a bit more damage doesn’t hurt.
Phasing SequenceDoes 10% of your damage as absolute damage to the hull when you strike shields. Works well on a high damage weapon like a PA.
Plasma SlugYou lose 10% damage, but you draw ammo from your fuel supply. Depending on the ship (and its fuel tank) this can extend your fighting time significantly. 
Stripped DownFrees up a tiny bit of mass, but there are better ways to do that.
Target Lock BreakerMakes you no longer the active target of the ship you hit…for a fraction of a second, since NPCs can instantly retarget.
Thermal Conduit.Does up to 30% more damage once your heat gets to 180%…but module damage from high heat is not resistable and adds up quickly.