ALP new vacuum pump

Vacuum pump

Today, Damian and I setup the vacuum pump that we got from the surface sputter working. It wasn’t very smooth going but, in the end it worked. Here’s what we did.

Found a plug box that had a spot for a fuse—which turns out to be very important to the story—and an on on/off switch.

We then connected the wall outlet to the box, and then the box to the pump. We flipped the switch and nothing happened. This lead us to believe that the way we had it connected was wrong and that we needed to switch the polarity of the wires to the pump. So, I did and flipped the switch and guess what, nothing happened.

Next we decided to find another pump. We tried the solvent pump but it didn’t pump the tube down enough so we nixed that. Then I found a really old one in a drawer and decided to plug it in to see if it worked. Well, it may have worked before it decided to self destructed in a plume of smoke and a giant spark. The issue was that the plug was not polarized and as such, I put it into the wall socket incorrectly and thus blew it up—really just the power cable fried. See the below images.


As you can see, the wire connected to the pump incinerated off of it leaving a nasty burn mark on the bench.

After that light show, Damian realized that we may have blew the fuse in the box that we connected to the first pump so we checked it. Sure enough it was blown.

We got another fuse and I connected it again with the switched polarities since we still didn’t know which way was correct. This blew the fuse.

So, we got another fuse and I switched the polarity back to what we had it at initially. This time the pump worked. Turns out the first fuse we used was not rated at the current needed to supply the pump so it blew the first time we turned it on. When I switched the polarity the first time, no current was being supplied to the pump because the fuse was already dead.

After screwing the terminal box back onto the pump, Damian and I turned it on for a sustained amount of time after I overfilled it with oil. This caused the pump to spit and spew oil all over te place. Fun. Nonetheless, we cleaned the filter and got the oil to a proper fill line and I connected it to the tube to see if it would work. Sure enough, it worked swimmingly.

Hugh and I took a trip to the hardware store and bought some proper fittings for the tube since we determined last week that we needed to decrease the amount of resistance the air flow encountered in order to increase the flow rate to the desired 90L/min. This was a smart move since in the below image, you can see the flow rate reaching over 300L/min.


This is awesome!

Motor control

I also had the pleasure of working with Gio and Tyler as well. Today we destroyed one of my H-bridge Arduino shields and I think we definitively decided that the ATX power supply is not working. We burned out the shield by supplying it too much current/voltage when we were using it with a laboratory power supply. I’m not entirely sure why it blew but my suspicion is that the power supply swung the voltage over the rated amount for the board when we had the current limit high thus frying it. It died without an explosion, just a little pop.

The good news is that the big easy driver came in, the Arduino still functions and Tyler gets to learn how to convert an ATX power supply into a lab power supply. This was great work today!


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