Environmental Lab

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Here’s a couple shots of the E-lab out back. It’s very noisy and kinda dark. I’m going to be spending a lot of time in here over the next six months. Most of the testing on new prototype products will be performed in these chambers and all of the cable hookups and connections will be done by hand. We can’t automate any of the testing here due to the age of these chambers. They don’t support computer controlled equipment. The brown ones on the right are old Envirotronics chambers that have limited access ports through the front door and sides. The blue chambers are either made by Blue M or by Thermotron. The Thermotron chambers are some of the better ones to work with, but I’ll get into that later.

High Power Calibration testing is what I will be running out here at night. In those Envirotronics chambers I will have four units to test, and just outside the chamber door there will be two test racks one on either side. The first thing to do is set the chamber temperature to 0C and let it ramp down. Once the inside of the chamber is zero degrees the instruments inside have to soak for a minimum of one hour. Then I can begin testing. The only pain in the ass with this is I can’t simply reach inside the chambers through an access port to make cable connections or hook up power sensors. The chamber door has to be opened in order to hook shit up. Problem with that is, ice will form almost instantly over all surfaces inside the chamber. So I have to work quick like. Open the door as little as possible, connect stuff up like a madman, and then close it back up. If I leave the chamber open for too long enough moisture will freeze inside that later on when we ramp the temperature back up it could start to rain in there. That’s no good for powered up electronics. Real bad mix.

Testing is going to take a long time. Each box has to be tested at five different temperature settings between 0C and 55C. High Power Calibration once it’s running can take most of an eight hour shift per unit tested. So that’s four boxes times five temperature tests plus soak time. One chamber load is going to take a couple of days to complete, and there are hundreds of new instruments coming through to test. I will be a very busy man…

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~ by factorypeasant on April 16, 2006.

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