Author Topic: What did you break today?  (Read 1927 times)

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Offline niflheimr

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What did you break today?
« on: October 26, 2012, 04:01:55 PM »
Was wondering what expensive equipment you've managed to send to an untimely end today . For me Fridays are bad - a few weeks ago I managed to fry my RAM and today at uni well ... I think this is the most expensive piece I killed so far.

5000$ 85kV@200mA power supply connected to a ~ 1500$ prototype neutron generator. With 10$ worth of crappy tubing for the cooling system . Add a lead shield brick that I missplaced (as in it fell off the table) and ripped the tube.

The funny part is the 50$ neutron detector survived the soaking . The power supply didn't - and the arcing and EMF took down a 20W argon laser assembly on another lab table .

That's six months of funding gone in less that 5 seconds - probably delaying my EngD by at least a year. So... how was your day?
« Last Edit: October 26, 2012, 04:11:58 PM by niflheimr »
 

Offline Erik Luken

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Re: What did you break today?
« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2012, 05:30:34 PM »
So how many research points did you lose?
 

Offline Panopticon

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Re: What did you break today?
« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2012, 05:41:36 PM »
I cracked a piece of a 300 dollar counter I was installing in my store, I think I can hide it though.

Doesn't really compare.
 

Offline Steve Walmsley

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Re: What did you break today?
« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2012, 06:19:06 PM »
Many years ago, I was project managing an upgrade of some logistics systems from an old Cobol-based mainframe system to more modern (for the time) hardware/software. As well as many other things, the system handled automated parts ordering. It would know how many of an item were in stock, the average rate at which that item was sold and the lead time for the supplier. The computer would take the lead time into account when ordering to ensure new stock arrived before the old stock was sold. This function was in both the old and new systems.

Part of the upgrade was a data migration, taking data from the old system, checking it, cleansing it and transferring it to the new database. One minor item that escaped my attention when writing the spec was that the lead time on the old system was held in days and the lead time on the new system was held in weeks. Everything seemed fine in test. When we went live, the computer obviously panicked because it suddenly though it would take several weeks to get hold of stock instead of several days, so it ordered half a million dollars worth of extra stock that we didn't actually need. We had lorries arriving at warehouses all across the country :)

Oops!
 

Offline niflheimr

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Re: What did you break today?
« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2012, 05:30:01 PM »
Ouch , I've worked for a while with porting databases and such from one system to another and it can be a hell of a task indeed. Though I never did reach half a million in damage :D

Update to the OP : Found a service engineer that's willing to repair the power supply ( I know some about fixing them but working on a 80kV constant and pulsed operation supply when you can pay someone to do it for you is not a good way to reach retirement age ) for just a couple hundreds .

Also I fixed the laser assembly (it's an argon-pumped Ti-Sapphire laser that we use for some applications like ionizing deuterium in my generator and a few studies on reducing the radioactivity of waste materials .)

 Thankfully I didn't burn anything or cracked the tube with Friday's mishap, the power supply for it just overloaded from EMF and popped the fuse. If that went down too I think they would have cut my funding for sure - that thing costs more than my appartment . A typical assembly like that goes up to 40k $ depending on specs.

Will have to bribe a colleague to help me realign and re-calibrate it though , it's very hard work without 4 hands :)
 

Offline procyon

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Re: What did you break today?
« Reply #5 on: October 30, 2012, 01:34:20 AM »
Haven't toasted anything lately, but have had several good opportunities over the years.

But on the subject of 'bad orders', I have had some experience with that.

When in Germany in the US Army / V Corp / Corps Support Command (COSCOM), I did have the unfortunate experience of being attached to the Assistant Chief of Command for Transportation.  We were helping Supply process orders for replacement vehicles, parts, etc...

Well, the best we could figure out was that someone who was typing got their fingers misaligned on the keypad and typed in a string of numbers that was incorrect.  Not sure what was supposed to be ordered, but the number was for some rather expensive parts for a nuclear sub.

We didn't know about the mistake until the Pentagon kicked back the order after the lower eschalons had approved it as the part had always been transported by ship and they were having difficulty scheduling delivery to a land locked location.
Two days later we all had an early morning 'briefing' where we all had to pee in a cup... ::)
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Offline MWadwell

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Re: What did you break today?
« Reply #6 on: February 14, 2013, 09:37:24 PM »
Well, a collegue of mine at the nuclear reasearch reactor once pressed "Trip-2", rather then "Trip-2 reset".

We poisoned out, which cost us ~120k in lost productivity.


Me - I've been next to a ~80k cryogenic turbine when it died. Luckily I had argued against going "cold". Unfortunately when the turbine went, it took the reactor with it, and I pushed too hard on the recovery, got a second trip and ended up poisoning out..... So that was ~120k lost productivity chalked up on my "tab".....


 
Later,
Matt
 

Offline niflheimr

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Re: What did you break today?
« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2013, 03:08:58 PM »
I've only done that on the simulator at our plant. Still it was nerve-wrecking hearing the printers go through a couple dozen pages of logs :)

I believe they tripped it once when the operator leaned on the wrong switch and shut down one of the primary pumps. Took them 20+ minutes to find out what happened so yeah , 36h outage .

36h * 700MW * 220$/MWh -> 5.5 milion $ loss :D
« Last Edit: February 15, 2013, 03:11:13 PM by niflheimr »
 

Offline MWadwell

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Re: What did you break today?
« Reply #8 on: February 15, 2013, 06:07:44 PM »
36h * 700MW * 220$/MWh -> 5.5 milion $ loss :D

120K verse 5.5M - shows the different between a power reactor and a research reactor....  ;D
Later,
Matt
 

Offline niflheimr

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Re: What did you break today?
« Reply #9 on: February 17, 2013, 01:36:12 AM »
And that's why the operators are paid ten times the average salary around here .

About research reactors , I did have the chance to spend a few weeks collecting data for my EngD at our 3MW TRIGA . We had a few issues but other than that no unintended trips ( besides the ones we induced by pulsing it - man the blue glow is pretty)
 

Offline MWadwell

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Re: What did you break today?
« Reply #10 on: February 17, 2013, 03:15:13 PM »
And that's why the operators are paid ten times the average salary around here .

Well - that's obviously another difference between a power reactor and a research reactor, as  I wouldn't say that we are that well paid (for example, I took a pay cut when coming to ANSTO, cause a 10 minute drive to work is better then a 2 hour drive to work.....)

Quote
About research reactors , I did have the chance to spend a few weeks collecting data for my EngD at our 3MW TRIGA . We had a few issues but other than that no unintended trips ( besides the ones we induced by pulsing it - man the blue glow is pretty)

Man that pulse is pretty intense - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xyN2E75VGw4.

For obvious reasons, my bosses don't wont to let me do this at my work.....

However, here's a picture of our blue glow (with all the background lights off). This is at 1/2 power (10 MWt) - http://www.ansto.gov.au/__data/assets/image/0015/8340/OPAL_1000.jpg

Later,
Matt
 

Offline niflheimr

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Re: What did you break today?
« Reply #11 on: February 17, 2013, 06:49:18 PM »
I had to beg , bribe and brown-nose everyone in charge for a few months before I got them to let me run my tests :) In the end we did four pulses at 1 , 1.2 , 1.5 and 2$ -last one was about 1GWt for a few microseconds :)

But most of the time it was really boring - 4-5 hours a day of watching the graphs and handwriting the date since security here is absurd , they didn't even allow me to print the logs :) But then that's what you get when you live in Romania - I was lucky I secured access at all.

If you are curious , here's the institute where I did my study . They do have an English version of the website.

http://www.nuclear.ro/prezentare_en.htm
 

Offline MWadwell

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Re: What did you break today?
« Reply #12 on: February 17, 2013, 09:34:07 PM »
I had to beg , bribe and brown-nose everyone in charge for a few months before I got them to let me run my tests :) In the end we did four pulses at 1 , 1.2 , 1.5 and 2$ -last one was about 1GWt for a few microseconds :)

1 GWt - not bad for a 500 kWt TRIGA (assuming that it wasn't the steady state 14MW TRIGA).

I mean, $2 is what - 1400 pcm of reactivity? Just to put that into perspective - that's almost 20% of the total core at work (and you inserted it in one go.....)

Quote
But most of the time it was really boring - 4-5 hours a day of watching the graphs and handwriting the date since security here is absurd , they didn't even allow me to print the logs :) But then that's what you get when you live in Romania - I was lucky I secured access at all.

Heh - my work is either really boring, busy (but boring), or really busy (wishing that you were bored!)  ;D

Quote
If you are curious , here's the institute where I did my study . They do have an English version of the website.

http://www.nuclear.ro/prezentare_en.htm

Interesting! You're lucky to have a place where you can do higher courses in nuclear engineering. Here in Australia, we have to go overseas (typically to the US) - and so we only have a small number of nuclear qualified engineers.....

Later,
Matt
 

Offline ExChairman

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Re: What did you break today?
« Reply #13 on: February 18, 2013, 01:11:12 AM »
Well not a loss but could have been.

Had my prctice on a Ro-Ro ship and when we were entering the harbour of Felixstove(? I think) I was the helmsman and the pilot orderd hard turn to starboard(right) but somewhere in my head there was a disconnection and I started turning the ship to Port(Left) the thing is I thaught why does he say left when the river turn right...

I never were put at the helm anymore... :-[

Oh well I am not a sailor anymore  either... ;D
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Offline MWadwell

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Re: What did you break today?
« Reply #14 on: February 18, 2013, 04:19:26 AM »
Well not a loss but could have been.

Had my prctice on a Ro-Ro ship and when we were entering the harbour of Felixstove(? I think) I was the helmsman and the pilot orderd hard turn to starboard(right) but somewhere in my head there was a disconnection and I started turning the ship to Port(Left) the thing is I thaught why does he say left when the river turn right...

I never were put at the helm anymore... :-[

Oh well I am not a sailor anymore  either... ;D

Heh, a story I read about the first time a guy was on shift on the reactor control panel (the story is just above the comments):
http://www.tommcmahon.net/2005/10/the_story_of_ho.html

"So at 1 hour and 45 minutes into my first watch, I was disqualified and relieved of my watch. The All-Time Navy Record."

We use this story to scare the newbies when the first come on shift and are controlling the reactor manually.

Later,
Matt
 

 

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