5 09 2009

So after I installed the deuterium handling system I tried turning on the vacuum system, but it seems I’m not able to pull a vacuum now! The turbopump won’t spin up past 1/5 speed as indicated here (the bar of green LEDs):


The pump won’t spin all the way up if the chamber is not holding a hard vacuum. Or at least that seems to be the case based on my experience with this pump. I suppose a sanity check would be to install a blank conflat over the pump and fire it up. But this would require some work uninstalling and reinstalling.

Assuming the pump is telling me there is a leak, it must be a leak in the deuterium system I just installed, right?

Time for some troubleshooting. I tried this configuration:


This is just the fluid feed throughs capped with VCR caps. Still not able to pull a vacuum in this configuration. Lets eliminate failure points again and just install a blank conflat here:



Basically the chamber configuration is untouched from it’s last know working state except for this blank conflat. I’m really perplexed. What just happened?


It looks like our turbo pump is blown. What a bummer. I put a blank conflat right on the pump to see if I could get it to spin up. No dice. Then I noticed the sound coming from the turbo pump isn’t right.

I’ll speak with the manufacturer on Tuesday about steps to fix this. What a bummer.



2 responses

6 09 2009

If you bleed gas in too fast after your last run without letting the turbo spin down you can bend the turbo blades with the gas load. The turbo can seize altogether – can you spin it by hand?

6 09 2009

yup. that’s exactly what I did. fuck me. expensive mistake. and easy to make. At some point while I was testing the gas handling system, I must have let in too much air. My turbo is cooked.

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