Ghostbusters Wiki
Ghostbusters Wiki

Why worry? Each one of us is carrying an unlicensed nuclear accelerator on his back.
- Dr. Venkman; Ghostbusters

The Proton Pack is the primary ghost capturing device used by the Ghostbusters.


Designed in 1984 by Egon Spengler and Ray Stantz, the Proton Pack counters the negative energy which ghosts are made of with a Proton Stream, a stream of positively charged ions which can harness a ghost. The Proton Stream is very dangerous and barely controllable. Egon has also mentioned that crossing Proton Streams will result in total protonic reversal causing all life as we know it to stop instantaneously and every molecule in a user's body to explode at the speed of light. The Proton Pack made the cover of the October 1984 issue of Omni.

The Proton Packs are nuclear powered. The power cells of the Proton Pack have a half life of 5,000 years.[1]

Function & Use

The Proton Packs are special, for they are the only piece of technology in the world that has the ability to strip electrons away from protons. It has a hand-held wand known as a "Particle Thrower" (also known as a Proton Gun or Neutrona Wand) connected to a backpack-sized particle accelerator. The Proton Pack, also referred to as a charged particle accelerator, functions by using a miniature cyclotron. A cyclotron is a compact particle accelerator, which in this case is used as a positron collider, smashing together positrons (also known as anti-electrons, the positively-charged antimatter counterpart of electrons, which are negatively-charged in normal matter). The resulting material is fed to the Particle Thrower, which is used to direct this stream of positively-charged subatomic anti-particles that are capable of caging and cancelling the energy of any negatively charged ectoplasmic entities that are held in an active stream, even if they are out of phase with reality. In practical terms, the Particle Thrower fires a stream of "positive energy" that allows a wielder to ensnare the "negative energy" of a ghost, both holding them in place and somewhat neutralizing their power. The stream reacts to ghost energy and uses that energy to hold the ghost in place so it can be positioned above a Trap for capture. Even if a ghost becomes invisible or intangible, their negative energy still exists, though it is slightly out of phase with normal reality. The positive stream neutralizes their invisibility or phaseshift ability and forces them back in sync with our reality and holds them in place for capture.

Primary Canon

From Ghostbusters Official (Web Site) circa 2017, see Behind the Scenes in Gallery

  • Booster
  • Power Cell
  • Injectors
  • Bumper
  • Shock Mount

Secondary Canon

IDW Comics

  • Ramis Boards


Ray's Pack in the first movie on the first bust is falsely assumed to have yellow lights in the upper part near the blue "powercell lights" (Blue light bar that flashes going up). It is actually due to the black paint being worn off of the fiberglass shell, allowing the power cell lights to illuminate through. 

Known Variants

  • GB1 Hero pack
  • GB1 Stunt pack (packs made of foam rubber)
  • GB2 Mid-grade pack (new packs)
  • GB2 Hero pack mkII (original pack with updates)
  • GB2 Stunt pack
  • Universal Studios Florida pack

Secondary Canon History

Proton Pack in the Animated Series

The Proton Pack in the animated series was recolored a blue/dark blue, and the cyclotron has 3 lights instead of 4.

For even more information of the animated version of this character go to the animated article.

IDW Comics

When banished by Koza'Rai to the four corners of time and space, each of the original three Ghostbusters modified and constructed their own Proton Packs. Peter was modeled after the Old West-era, Ray's from Arthurian times, and Egon armed his own military force with Packs. In 1780, Leonardo da Vinci modified Janine Melnitz' Pack then made at least three more for the rookies she hired. Rachel Unglighter used magic on her own versions, dubbed "Mega-Packs," that she claimed were upgraded and there was no longer a danger in crossing the streams. It also had the ability to "freeze" ghosts with the flip of a blue switch.

Years later, before the Schenectady case, Egon removed the cooling covers from the Proton Packs. The removal made the packs lighter but apparently the covers presented something of a cancer risk.[2] When considering shooting the human host of the Hungry Manitou, Egon believed a weak spread would only cause short term memory loss and possible violent bowel evacuation.[3] After the Schenectady case, Egon modified the potency of the packs to compensate for the prolonged surge affecting the ambient psychokinetic energy. After the Ghostbusters were imprisoned in the Collectors' Limbo, they used Ray's Proton Pack to jury rig a controlled explosion and rip a hole in the interdimensional fabric just wide enough for them to slip through and return home despite the small chance the explosion could cause the dimension to fold over their own and destroy both places.

During the Chi-You incident, the Ghostbusters and Turtles had to split into two teams to deal with Chi-You and start building an Interspatial Teleportation Unit. Before one team set off for the Madison Square Garden, Ray Stantz gave his spare pack to Donatello. Before Michelangelo could finish asking for one, too, Leonardo shot down the request. When Chi-You was in possession of Winston, his Proton Pack was also transmogrified. The pack took on the appearance of a turtle shell. At some point, the Ramis Boards were upgraded from a six-pin to an eight-pin. This allowed the Proton Packs to have access to a wider energy spectrum.[4][5] Ron Alexander went back to his Ghost Smashers equipment and supposedly fixed the flaw in his design. Believing it wouldn't cause the same problem as before, he added the atomizing stream option to his Boson Caster and to the Chicago Ghostbusters' throwers. The current model of Proton Pack is Mark 4.2.[6] During a mission to recapture the Hungy Manitou in a parallel dimension, Patty Tolan of Dimension 80-C realized the Proton Streams weren't enough against the Giant Murder Clown. Ray Stantz of Dimension 68-R thought they stood a chance when Garrett Miller of Dimension 68-E fought back against the Hungry Manitou and its readings went into flux. Janine knew they needed something else. Ron came to and told Gabriel Sitter of Dimension 50-S to cut his Proton Pack off and call the "fat guy" over. Gabriel assumed he was talking about Ray 68-R. At first, he didn't get it but Ron explained the Proton Grenade stunned the clown but blowing up the Proton Pack would be strong enough to free Garrett. Ray 68-R agreed and congratulated him for saving Garrett's life. Ron could care less, he needed a doctor fast. Ray 68-R threw the pack into the air and ordered everyone to shoot it. The explosion dispersed the Giant Murder Clown and freed Garrett then the Hungry Manitou was trapped soon after.

Proton Packs were built for Ectotron and Optimus Prime in the Warehouse. Winston finished welding the packs to frames and suggested things would go faster if Peter pitched in. Peter quipped it wasn't even Tuesday but still couldn't believe Ray thought they would work. Ray startled Peter from behind and claimed they would work then invited them to test them. Ectotron went first and accidentally blew up the Ecto-Gyro. Peter realized Janine was right to worry about him. Ectotron apologized and promised to fix everything he broke. The packs weren't enough to confine Kremzeek so the Ghostbusters opted to disperse him. The ghosts of Megatron, Soundwave, Shockwave, and Starscream were freed as a result. Optimus tried diplomacy first but it failed. He disconnected his Proton Pack from his Ion Blaster plugged the pack cord directly into his right wrist. He stated he was just tired of war but wasn't afraid of no ghost. He generated a Proton Axe.

Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime

Over the next decade, Egon and Ray continue to make upgrades to the Proton Packs. Egon's and Ray's studies on paranormal entities have revealed that Ectoplasm can be charged with different sub-atomic charges. The junior team are the first to use this new version of the Packs, complete with the Proton Beam, Fermion Shock, and Plasma Inductor options. Each option is designed to disperse an entity with a specific weakness to a certain energy frequency and thus, reduce the need for the Ghost Traps.


  • In the July 6, 1983 (and August 5) draft, Egon Spengler plugged the Proton Pack prototype into an AC outlet. The pack heated up to 550 degrees and the resulting surge melted the outlet then caused a downtown blackout.[7][8]
  • In the July 6, 1983 draft, the Chinese takeout scene involves a second Proton Pack test. On pages 41-42, Egon finished Proton Pack Mark II. This version is portable and has no plug like the Mark I. Egon assures them it is safe, it only shoots 12 feet and won't harm anything but ecto-plasm. He then demonstrated how to use the pack. It ended up shooting out over 25 feet, blasting a hole in the wall and knocking him over.
  • On page 115 of the August 5, on page 114 of the September 30, and on page 79 of the October 7, 1983 drafts, Winston and Egon charged the Proton Packs off the City Hall building's current as the team prepared to depart the loading dock.[9]
  • The term "Proton Pack" was actually not used onscreen until halfway through the second film, when Egon says "before we go any further I think we should get our Proton Packs". However, the term was used in the script drafts of the first movie.[10] And the term appeared publicly in 1984 such as a movie review in the June 18, 1984 issue of People Magazine.[11][12]
  • Stephen Dane constructed prototypes made of balsawood and cardboard with major input from Ivan Reitman and Dan Aykroyd. Once the design was finalized, Chuck Gaspar went to work on the models to be used in the movie.[13]
  • For the Proton Pack, Stephen Dane based his rough sketches on flamethrowers he recalled from military magazines. He bought a pack frame from California Surplus, on Santa Monica and Vine, and built a rough mock-up of the backpack flamethrower idea. Dane and Reitman talked and refined the design. The working design then went to the prop builders. Dane continued to guide the construction and bought some parts to be used in the early mock-up phase.[14]
  • During filming of Ghostbusters, the Proton Packs weighed close to 30 pounds fully loaded. The stunt packs were made of rubber. Some had no batteries for the scenes when the thrower was not fired.[15] In an article, Ramis was quoted saying the fully operational packs weighed about 50 pounds but were about 20 pounds lighter when the batteries were taken out. A lightweight model was made near the end of filming.[16]
  • During filming of Ghostbusters II, the lightweight Proton Pack models weighed about 28 pounds but did not light up.[17]
  • In the Ghostbusters II August 5, 1988 draft:
    • On page 39, Egon admitted they never tested for how long the Proton Packs' fuel cells could last without recharging.[18]
    • On page 109, the Ghostbusters plug their Proton Packs into a transformer at the end of the heavy-duty cable which is now patched into the Con Edison power grid.
  • In the September 29, 1988 draft, on page 41, Ray tells everyone to switch to full stream.
  • In the November 27, 1988 and February 27, 1989 drafts:
    • On page 47, they put on their Proton Packs while the ghosts tear up chairs in search of the Judge. Ray tells everyone to switch to full neutronas.
  • Before the battle with the Scoleri Brothers in Ghostbusters II, Egon mentions the fuel cells of the Proton Pack have a half-life of 5000 years.
    • The radioactive isotope closest to 5000 years is Curium-246. It has a half-life of 4730 years.
  • In the Ghostbusters II September 29, 1988 draft, page 64-66, and November 27, 1989 draft, page 84:
    • Louis pretends to be a Ghostbuster upstairs while Janine prepares to close up for the day. Janine surprises him and he almost blasts her.
  • In the Ghostbusters II February 27, 1989 Draft:
    • On page 84 to 85, Louis uses a Proton Pack to try and catch Slimer but he almost blasts Janine.
  • In Ghostbusters: The Video Game, crossing the streams only causes the Ghostbusters involved to be knocked down by the backlash and suffer a bit of damage. This is a safety feature introduced to the revised Proton pack, explicitly called "cross-stream governor" by Egon. The safety can be turned off, allowing the packs to cross the streams in case of emergency,[19] as is the case in the battle against Ivo Shandor.
    • The pack also gets three upgrades/new attack modes during the course of the game (field tested by the player's character).
  • From Issue #9 and on, Dan Schoening began to draw in an extra Hydrogen Gas Actuator to differentiate the Proton Packs in the ongoing comic book series from the ones in the movies.[20]
  • Dan Schoening originally drew the Proton Pack as mix of packs done by fans but he currently draws them from memory. Any pack lights are Luis Delgado's ideas.[21]
  • The Proton Pack's design served as the inspiration for the design of the Gluon Gun from Half-Life 1.
  • Mentioned on page 14 of Ghostbusters: Get Real Issue #3, the Ramis Board part is named after the late Harold Ramis.
  • The Proton Pack was never tested for use in water until Kylie Griffin used one to blast Esme Torres in Ghostbusters International #6.[22]
  • Walter Peck wore and used a Proton Pack for the first time in Ghostbusters International #7.
  • On page 23 of Ghostbusters 101 #4, the current Proton Pack is revealed to be the Mark 4.2 version.
    • Ron Alexander's atomizing stream is revealed to be a higher setting of proton stream output.[23]
    • Egon's lines, 'power cells have a half life of 5000 years' and 'not a toy' from Ghostbusters II are quoted.
  • The Proton Pack was mentioned in the 101 Cadets' bio in the 38th Crossing Over Virtual Trading Card, released on June 28, 2018.[24]
  • On the front cover of the Ghostbusters Crossing Over TPB, Alan, Peter, and Ron are wearing Proton Packs.
  • Two Proton Streams could not contain the Electric Ghost in Issue #3.
  • In the Quickbooks online spot "Happy Business: Ghostbusters," released on December 27, 2019, Proton Pack expenses are listed as $58,126 on Janine's dashboard.
  • On Cover B and page 5 of Ghostbusters Year One Issue #1, the New York Times Monday classifieds, the Ghostbusters ad asks if you can carry 70 pounds while on the run, a nod to the weight of the Proton Pack props.
  • On page 6 of Ghostbusters Year One Issue #2, Ray reveals the nuclear material for the Proton Pack was left over from a previously approved experiment.[25]

Also See


Primary Canon Appearances

Secondary Canon Appearances

Cryptozoic Entertainment


  1. Egon Spengler (1999). Ghostbusters II, Chapter 12: Two in the Box (1989) (DVD ts. 34:10-34:13). Columbia Pictures. Egon Spengler says: "It should. The power cells have a half-life of 5,000 years."
  2. Egon Spengler (2012).IDW Comics- "Issue #5" (2012) (Comic p.17).
  3. Egon Spengler (2012).IDW Comics- "Issue #6" (2012) (Comic p.3).
  4. Ray Stantz (2015). IDW Comics- "Ghostbusters: Get Real Issue #3" (2015) (Comic p.14). Ray says: "Your packs have access to that wide of an energy spectrum?"
  5. Ray Stantz (2015). IDW Comics- "Ghostbusters: Get Real Issue #3" (2015) (Comic p.14). Ray says: "It was a snap once we upgraded the Ramis Boards from a six-pin to an eight!"
  6. Ghostbusters 101 Class Notes (2017). IDW Comics- "Ghostbusters 101 #4" (2017) (Comic p.23). Ghostbusters 101 Class Notes reads: "Proton Pack (Mark 4.2)."
  7. Shay, Don (November 1985). Making Ghostbusters, p. 68 annotation. New York Zoetrope, New York NY USA, ISBN 0918432685. Paragraph reads: "In the July and August drafts, Spengler conducts an early demonstration of the experimental ghostbusting equipment for his comrades at the firehall. Since the self-contained unit is still under development, the existing prototype is plugged into an AC outlet. An audible surge of power runs from the wall socket along the extension cord to the power pack on Spengler's back. The pack heats up to 550 degrees and kicks the electrical surge back down the wire to the wall outlet which melts. At once, all the lights in the room black out. Compounding the gag, the action then cuts to an exterior of the firehouse as all the lights in and on the building go out, as does the street lamp and the stoplight at the corner. Then the action cuts once again to a long shot of downtown office buildings as they all black out in rapid succession, leaving dark silhouettes against the night sky."
  8. Aykroyd, Dan & Ramis, Harold (1983). Ghostbusters (First Draft August 5, 1983) (Script p. 23). Paragraph reads: "An audible surge of power runs from the wall socket along the extension cord to the power pack on Spengler's back. The pack heats up to 550 degrees and kicks the electrical surge back down the wire to the wall outlet which melts. At once, all the lights in the room black out.""
  9. Aykroyd, Dan & Ramis, Harold (1983). Ghostbusters (First Draft August 5, 1983) (Script p. 115). Paragraph reads: "EXT. LOADING DOCK The Ectomobile is parked there. Winston and Spengler are charging all the packs off the building current.""
  10. Aykroyd, Dan & Ramis, Harold (1983). Ghostbusters (First Draft August 5, 1983) (Script p. 22). Egon Spengler says: "This is the Proton Pack, Peter.""
  11. Alex Newborn Facebook "Alex Newborn's 1989 Ghostbusters Scrapbook" (Scan of People Magazine June 18, 1984) 8/1/2018
  12. Travers, Peter (1984). People Magazine (June 18, 1984. Vol 21, No. 24), p. 10. Meredith Corporation, New York NY USA. ISSN 0093-7673 Line reads: "Going into business to serve the public's "supernatural elimination" needs, the team, sporting proton packs and neutrana wand, tools around Manhattan in an Ectomobile (it's not supposed to make sense)."
  13. Shay, Don (November 1985). Making Ghostbusters, p. 69 annotation. New York Zoetrope, New York NY USA, ISBN 0918432685. Paragraph reads: "The proton packs and nutrona wands were constructed in balsawood and cardboard prototype form by Steven Dane -- with significant input from Ivan Reitman and Dan Aykroyd -- and then turned over to Chuck Gaspar for actual construction."
  14. "Beyond the Marquee: The Web-Series (Episode 70) – The GHOSTBUSTERS Ecto-1 Car and Designer Stephen Dane" 9/18/14
  15. Harold Ramis (1999). Ghostbusters- Commentary (1999) (DVD ts. 30:32-30:45). Columbia TriStar Home Video. Harold Ramis says: "These packs weighed about 30 pounds fully loaded. We had different versions of them. Some were rubber for when we did stunts. Some had no batteries when we weren't firing the guns. The fully loaded with batteries were about 30 pounds."
  16. Eisenberg, Adam (November 1989). Cinefex #40, p. 7. Cinefex, USA. Harold Ramis says: "On the first film, we had to wear them all the time and the effects guy did not come up with lighter models until right near the end of the shoot. Those original backpacks were really heavy. After that film, we all had to have our spines straightened--our spines looked like Mulholland Drive by the time we were through. The actual operational backpacks weighed about fifty pounds but they were almost twenty pounds lighter if the batteries were left out."
  17. Eisenberg, Adam (November 1989). Cinefex #40, p. 7. Cinefex, USA. Harold Ramis says: "Fortunately, for the second film they made a lightweight model--only about twenty-eight pounds--that did not light up as much but still looked good."
  18. Aykroyd, Dan & Ramis, Harold (1988). Ghostbusters II (August 5, 1988 Draft) (Script p. 39). Egon Spengler says: "We never tested to find out how long the fuel cells would last without recharging. We may have no power."
  19. GBTVGReferenceCrossingTheStreamsRV.jpg
  20. Dan Schoening post IDW Forums 6/4/12
  21. Dapperpomade Tweet 3/20/14
  22. Egon Spengler (2016). IDW Comics- "Ghostbusters International #6" (2016) (Comic p.13). Egon Spengler says: "This equipment wasn't tested for use in the water."
  23. Ghostbusters 101 Class Notes (2017). IDW Comics- "Ghostbusters 101 #4" (2017) (Comic p.23). Ghostbusters 101 Class Notes reads: "This beam (though dangerous and potentially very destructive) is able to either ensnare a psychokinetic entity (a typical spectral manifestation) or, at a higher setting, disperse a manifestation completely (it should be noted that dispersal should only be used as a last resort; the spectral energy will eventually reform -- and if there's more to be had from a rash of blown-up ghosts, well, the danger is that they'll get together as a far more dangerous single entity)."
  24. TomWaltz Tweet 6/28/18
  25. Ray Stantz (2020). IDW Comics- "Ghostbusters Year One Issue #2" (2020) (Comic p.6). Ray Stantz says: "Uh, we actually had that left over from a previously approved experiment."
  26. Narrator (2016). Insight Editions- "Tobin's Spirit Guide" (2016) (Book p.46). Paragraph reads: "Fortunately, we were able to escape by rewiring a proton pack to explode."
  27. Narrator (2016). Insight Editions- "Tobin's Spirit Guide" (2016) (Book p.60). Paragraph reads: "In fact, it only caused the still-hungry Lilith to attack bystanders until driven off by a boson dart---a burst of boson particles delivered from our proton packs that hits spectral targets like a grenade."
  28. Narrator (2016). Insight Editions- "Tobin's Spirit Guide" (2016) (Book p.74). Paragraph reads: "We were brought in not because they thought it was a supernatural occurrence, but because they thought we could "atomize the bugs" with our proton packs."



Primary Canon

Secondary Canon

Behind the Scenes